Before you comment read my whole post...


Well the story has broke again. I made this prediction in the many threads from the last fire in 2010 that got the FFN boards lit up. History repeats itself in the fire service.  The homeowner this time admits they knew the past story of "Pay for Spray" in 2010 and about the $75.00 fee. They said quote, "never thought it would happen to them."


Here is the news video:


In my opinion, the FD who refuses to put out the fire is doing the right thing. As hard as that may seem, if the FD provides the service for free, then nobody in the county will pay.  This story has been going on for many years. For those who don't know, the county has NO fire department, the residents know this. Many move there because it is cheaper to live there.  Past studies have been done to reccommend providing fire protection services but it will cost the homewowner more in their county taxes. The county administrators have decided to keep it "Pay for Spray" meaning a neighboring fire department who does NOT have any jurisdictional requirement to respond to your county residence, is allowed to offer their services to each individual homeowner for $75.00 per year.  If you pay the $75.00 subscription service, you will get a response and mitigation from the neighboring FD. This is not mutual aid, this is not automatic aid. This is paying for fire protection from a contractor.  If you don't pay the fee, the FD has told everyone numerous times, no pay = no service.


In my opinion the lack of FD action keeps the integrity of the lousy system in place. The people who pay are getting services when needed and they are NOT subsidizing their neighbors lack of payment. The fire department unfortunately gets caught up in the media and the "passion police" when the story of "they just watched it burn"  After the last story unfolded, many neighboring chiefs came out and tried to explain how small of a budget this fire department has, one chief even mentioned the fire chief sometimes, empty's the soda machine to buy fuel for his trucks with change.


So instead of continuously being the bad guy, I suggest the Mayor and the Fire Chief tell the county administrators that they are done offering subscriptions next year. Therefore no more subscription service to the county and the COUNTY will now have to fund their own protection services. The administrators will then have to assess a fire tax to their residents to fund either a volunteer fire department(s) or pay for services from another FD for every county residence.


Time to end the subsciption mess...... it is a black eye to the one's who have to enforce the rules and the integrity.


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I read a number of comments at the link and no surprise, a great number of people writing either have NO clue what was involved or choose to ignore it.  Funny how some people think that fire protection is a guarantee, even when YOUR own government refuses to fund it.  Instead they let their constituents ride the coattails of the nearest community that actually DOES bother to fund their own fire protection.

Just like last year's incident in Obion country there will be those, in here, who think it's wrong for the fire department to just stand by and watch.  Because clearly, Super Heroes  NEVER just stand by and watch.

FETC, I agree wholeheartedly but...saving money up front is definitely a priority with the residents who choose to live where they do and refuse to pay for their own fire protection.  Really, it's a Lottery, where you buy your ticket ($75 subscription fee) and then wait and see if your number comes up.  Remember, if you don't play, you can't win.  We now have at least two residents of Obion County that can attest to that.

The residents know the rules and they assume the risk if they don't pay the fee (which is very minimal in my opinion).

I like the idea of working the call and charging the resident for resources used, but what are the odds of being able to recover the costs?

As a firefighter I cant imagine sitting back and watching. But I also know you have to follow the rules. Accidents happen when we don't.

If they would decide the fight the fire, I wonder if they would automatically forfeit any insurance coverage since it would be against company policy. Heaven forbid someone would get hurt.

Sounds to me like they're hands are tied and it's a lose-lose situation for them.



Excellent post.  I couldn't agree more.



Pay for Spray... That's a catchy title that pretty much sums up what the residents and elected officials understand. If you move outside existing fire protection areas and don't want to pay increased taxes or a $75.00 annual subscription, then you have to suffer your own fate. Rolling the dice as to whether or not you need fire protection services clearly isn't the best choice for anyone to make.

To lament afterwards that firefighters just stood by and watched it burn is very much akin to the current generation's mantra that everyone is entitled just doesn't cut it. I think we are dealing with a ton of spoiled people who grew up in a world where everyone gets things because they deserve it verses paying for or earning it. This sure sounds like a great example of tough love, but instead of applying it to a spoiled teenager, it's being applied to a community that somehow feels that they should get something for nothing.

Sure, this is a tough thing to do and enforce. But someone has to be the grown up here. Making it not an option in regard to a fire tax is the right thing to do. Children involved in this mess and a no one from the fire department responding is something that innocent people don't deserve to be put in a position where they are in trouble and need our help.

Folks priorities are all messed up. Spending twenty-cents a day for annual fire protection hardly seems like a major hit on anyone's budget compared to the horrific and financially devastating affects of a structure fire that hurts or kills someone.

Again, that's $0.205 a day for the $75.00 fire protection fee to ensure that private contractors respond.

Entitlement is now a common trait these days. Whether it is the new kid on the job or a person who willingly chooses to not pay for services.  Bottom line is this, if you want service you must pay. Whether it is gasoline, fuel oil, car repairs, food at the store, etc. Nobody is entitled to the product or service. No different here in reality, the end users know the system, have had an opportunity to change the system in the past and voted it down because it costs more for every homeowner than the current, "it will never happen to me mentality"


The Lottery - good choice of words. On another news reporter website, the guy wants to hear South Fulton Fire Chief say he hates the subscription system. But in reality I will bet the City of South Fulton Political Leaders actually like the system. You see from a "lottery" standpoint, if you pay for a subscription and never call the FD, that was $75.00 more they collected from an outside funding source and not from their "city limit" taxpayers. Times that by however many purchased a subscription and it may be a decent funding source.


The GO / NO-GO decision is made by the end user not the FD.  If you respond and extinguish the non-paying homeowners fire, then everyone expects ENTITLEMENT without paying.  Nobody has cash to pay a post extinguishment bill, when everything you own was just lost. Good luck recouperating the bill.



Ignorance is bliss! (Not knowing something is often more comfortable than knowing it).

$75.00 a year? OMG how many beers and packs of cigarettes does that equate to? Sure this sounds barbaric to some but you can't say people were not aware of the situation. Some made the goofy comparisons about law enforcement waiting to go to a robbery or whatever unless someone paid upfront. Ridiculous! Most if not all police departments are part of the tax base. For some reason many fire departments are not.

Did you ever see a police department having to hold a picnic or raffle, or bingo night in order to buy new squad cars or radar or guns? How about public works having to hold a pancake breakfast or chicken dinner to buy new shovels, dump truck or a snow plow? So why is the fire department forced to have these types of fund raisers to buy their equipment or if the fund raiser does not make enough money charge a $75.00 yearly fee. THAT"S ONLY 20.5 CENTS A DAY! DUH!

The days of free public services are long over! It's taxes that pay for those services. People through their local governments need to decide just what level of services they want and be willing to pay for that service. I'm a retired fire chief and I support the decision as difficult as it may have been for the firefighters following orders and their policy.

Great post FETC, actually cant believe there havent been any posts saying the FD should have put it out.

Just out of curiosity I wonder if they didn't have insurance because they didnt pay the county fee? Wonder if ISO has a different rating for those that show they paid the fee? Be nice to hear how that works in regard to the insurance companies, but since that wouldn't be flashy enough for the news probably wont see anything about it.

This is called duty to act people, pull your heads out of your rectums and see this. In the state where I reside this would be consideration for legal action by the homeowner, and the liability would fall on the officers of the department, present at the scene or not.  The department that I am a member of does not and cannot offer subscription services, they receive no tax base, no fire tax, no mill levy nothing, we have newer equipment  and volunteers ready to act, because it is considered  their duty to do so, we survive off of donations  and wise investments and money from the state. This is a crock and if the homeowner can find a good enough attorney, I hope they end up owning the county, the district and everything every officer has on the departments involved. In areas that are not covered by a local department, outside agencies are called in, they receive nothing for this only the satisfaction of helping a citizen. What a concept HUH?  WE work for the money we make, we don't sit on our rear ends and wait for some govt official to give it to us after stripping it from a citizen who in these times  may not have it to give anyway. hey if you all have so much money to give for your taxes. I'm sure there are allot of people who could use the help. It disgusts me that a dollar sign  is more important than life and property. Ive put thirty years into the fire service, in two states and it makes me ashamed to say I'm a firefighter anymore if this is the attitude of the service  these days.

Those who do not learn from history, are doomed to repeat it.

WOW, well I read it, and while I think its a gutsy move kind of, I sort of agree. While it is hard to sit back and watch someones belongings burn up, it is something that they the resident did gamble on. I mean I would like to tell the reporters to think of this another way.

If a homeowner had insurance on their home or knowed they were supposed to, and then they decided to not pay the premium, and then 2 weeks later the house burns, is the insurance going to pay for it?? No, not according to my agent. When the insurance doesnt get paid, the policy gets dropped or suspended. If something happens before the premium is paid, sorry about the luck.

I think it is kind of the same here, even though it is a tough situation, not everyone agrees with. If you know you have a service to pay, just like electric, gas, water, and so on, and you dont pay it?? You lose it. The other services dont just give it back to you without payment? Just an observation. I know I have never seen an electric truck just come up and hook up electric without a work order, showing payment?
Gambling is a bad habit, and one that can bring dire consequences, as did it here.



What would  happen if there was a report of a person inside ?

No question that the county is responsible here. They need to solve this problem and certainly can. There are so many better ways of handling this.  I suspect if you have a loan on your home and thus require insurance your insurance savings  is well worth the $75/yr.   If you don't have insurance then  the $75/yr  could be hard for some to pay.  After all the $75 is basically just another insurance  to guarantee a response.

All I know is I couldn't stand and watch nor order my crew to do so.  I guess I better not seek a job with the South Fulton city fire dept.

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