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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Simply, you're wrong.  The residents of Obion County do NOT want to pay for a fire department.  And apparently some residents do NOT want to pay for the subscription.  So they are NOT entitled to fire protection. 

This discussion is about the situation in Obion County TN, NOT some hypothetical straw man argument you are throwing up to prop up an argument that is not being argued, namely the charging for other services.

And using 'pride' as an argument to extinguish all fires regardless of the situation is another straw man argument.  What you want is to hijack the discussion to one of pride of job when clearly, that is not the issue.  And talking about pride, I suspect that the SFFD firefighters who were ordered to stand down, felt that same pride, and urge to mitigate the situation.  That's why departments have Chiefs (or Incident Commanders).  Otherwise it would just be a semi-organized mob with access to water.

Everything is governed by money, even services for the public good.  Somebody has to pay for them.  And what you're suggesting is that the residents of South Fulton should be responsible for providing fire protection to the residents of the unincorporated areas of Obion County, paid for by the residents of South Fulton, but enjoyed, at NO cost, by the residents of Obion County.

Thanks Jack for "Standing Tall" about a situtation caused by a TV reporter that DID NOT have his facts now seems that the FD he saw and showed on TV was actually the FULTON, KY department.....but why worry about facts .

Speaking about pride, isn't there a moral to the story about the person who gives it away for free. Isn't there a chance for the loss of respect, or in this case, once again, a sense of entitlement? Something for nothing? Someone has to be the adult here. Damn, this is like raising kids and trying to get them on their own. This tough love approach is the only way to get folks to wake up. Just ask the politician found guilty of corruption and given 14-years! You have to do what is necessary in order for folks to wake up and get a clue.

The backlash should be at the media for incorrectly reporting the news. The story should have been that the homeowner unfortunately chose to not pay for fire protection and a fire happened. Then in turn the SFFD could have spun a positive PR release about the need for everyone to pay their subscription fees so the additional funds can purchase tools, equipment, apparatus and manpower to provide the best services possible to ther area.  Otherwise, the entire area could become under protected if a department attempts to provide the services for free.


@ Andrew - I would hope all firefighters have the "desire" and have the oath in their hearts, but the oath can only go so far with the funds that are afforded to you. Meaning, paid or volunteer, regardless of status it takes money to provide good or bad service. Trucks need to be purchased, maintenance to be done, fuel needs to be bought..... I could go on for an hour with a list of mometary items that we need to do this job.  Volunteers donate their time but unless they have momentary items to work with their precious and valuable time is not going to do much.


And like others have said, if you get on the pride bandwagon, the backlash should be on you snf the FD who allow it, because the taxpayers who funded the services in the first place did not fund it for the neighboring unprotected county, who chose to live without "essential" services to survive.




Throughout this discussion the word OATH has been used. How many departments career, paid-on-call or true volunteer departments actually administer an oath when someone joins or gets hired? What does it state?

In this situation how would not following the department's policy of not serving a non-payer go against any oath?


Just wondering......


My career FD did a swearing in ceremony.  To be honest I don't remember what the heck it said.


Andrew Wrote in part: "Firefighting, as a whole, should not be governed by money. We have a certain sense of pride when it comes to saving and retaining life and property. What's next with emergency services? CPR Fees? Police Patrol and Response Fees? Vehicle Extrication Fees? Is there going to start being a whole list of what each action costs? Vertical Ventilation Fee, Back-Up Hoseline Fee, Primary Search Fee, etc. - think of the options!"


Those are great ideas and yes there should be user fees if the tax base and fundraisers do not cover the cost of doing business. For many years local EMS have had different fee structures in place for resident, non-resident, O2 use, drugs administered, mileage, bandages, extrication fees and others. Local law enforcement have repeat false alarm fees for people that do not maintain their systems. It may be difficult to breakdown fees for a fire response but if it's not covered by taxes or fundraising where does the money come from to run the department.?  Having a sense of pride is wonderful but it don't pay the bills!

Thanks FETC, there was a real good PR after the 1st fire, but as so often happens people thought "this won't happened to me" which is exactly what the second person told the NEWSPAPER...the paper got the facts right it was the TV reporter that really screwed the situtation up...this same reporter screwed up the first fire and really made UC look like a bunch of 'knuckle-draggin' rednecks when he reported about the local Goodyear plant closing...he does NOT care about the facts ONLY what will creat interesting NEWS - not whether it's right or wrong..."Stupid Is As Stupid Does-and You Can't Fix Stupid" Thanks for getting it right.

" would not following the department's policy of not serving a non-payer go against any oath?"

(damn, there are a lot of negatives in that sentence.)

Your oath does not allow you to disobey a lawful order.  Being told to stand down and NOT extinguish a fire -in this case the fire of a non-subscriber's home, no legal contract or service agreement and therefor NOT entitled to fire protection.- is a legal order.

Just because someone disagrees with a legal order doesn't give one the right to disobey (or if one does disobey they will rightfully be subjected to disciplinary action).  Hard as this may be for some to understand, the oath taken is to be a firefighter, not a superhero (I suspect superheroes have a rather open-ended oath allowing them to do whatever they feel is 'right', after all, they ARE superheroes.)

Question:  Why do some people have such a hard time understanding the issue in Obion County TN?  This discussion has 8 pages, there is another one that has 58 pages (almost 700 replies), there is ample opportunity to read and understand the facts and issues,  

State of Tennessee - a State in the United States of America

Obion County - a county in the State of TN, mostly wilderness, with wilder areas referred to as Unincorporated

South Fulton - a city in Obion County - it has its own locally elected government, raises taxes to provide the RESIDENTS of South Fulton various municipal services to include a Fire Department.  Herein after known as South Fulton Fire Department.

South Fulton has what many of us refer to as "City Limits."  That means a geographical point circumscribing the area known as the City of South Fulton.  Services provided to the residents of South Fulton include ONLY those residents that reside or do business within the city limits of South Fulton.  These services are funded by taxes levied by the government of South Fulton, elected by the residents of South Fulton for the residents of South Fulton.

Outside of South Fulton is a large wilderness area (on a map, marked as 'Thar be dragons') which involves the area called Obion County.  Within this wilderness are even wilder areas referred to as "Unincorporated".  The people that live in these particular wilderness areas are fiercely independent, go-it-alone type of people, hewing a living out of the godless wilderness of Unincorporated Obion County. 

They elect fellow Wildernessians to their County Board of Supervisors, whose sole function is to make sure that those Unincorporated Wildernessians pay as few taxes as humanly (it is thought they are human, or closely related anyway) possible. As a result (but fully in keeping with the ideology that less is more) the hardy residents of Unincorporated Obion County do not have (and do NOT desire to have) their own fire department.  Apparently raw materials ( for the mud huts they live in) are readily available and so the cost to get fire protection far outweighs the actual value of their mud huts.

The enlightened residents of South Fulton, in their generosity to pull the Wildernessians out of their primitive lifestyle, offers the Wildernessians the OPTION to have fire protection by subscribing.  Unfortunately, the Wildernessians see this subscription as little more than yet another unfair tax and so many refuse to pay it.  Sadly, when their mud huts sooner or later burn down, the South Fulton Fire Department refuses to put out their mud hut fire because the owner felt that $75 for fire protection was about 100 times more than the value of their mud hut.  (Honestly, I personally think that some residents set their mud huts on fire, hoping the SFFD will show up and put it out.  They do not care about the fire being put out but rather, they want the WATER the fire department will use so that they can have fresh, FREE mud to use to build themselves even bigger mud huts.)

So until the Obion County Wildernessians evolve sufficiently enough to understand the value of protecting their villages of mud huts by creating (and paying for) their own fire department, mud huts will continue to burn down at (seemingly) regular intervals.  Of course, should a Wildernessian's grass skirt catch fire (life safety issue) I'm pretty sure the SFFD will in that case put the fire out.  Of course as soon as the grass skirt fire is extinguished, the rest of the village are already carrying off the fresh, FREE mud with which they will make their mud huts into double-wide mud huts. (I further suspect that, for some that do want to subscribe to the fire protection offered by SFFD, they try to pay the fee with mud, a valuable commodity in Obion County but elsewhere, not so much.)

I hope this clears up the confusion that so many in here seem to suffer.  Also, i wrote it slowly so y'all can read it more gooder.

Jack/dt wrote in part: "

Your oath does not allow you to disobey a lawful order.  Being told to stand down and NOT extinguish a fire -in this case the fire of a non-subscriber's home, no legal contract or service agreement and therefor NOT entitled to fire protection.- is a legal order."


I agree 132%!!!

In the Philippines..... our volunteer fire service still growing every year. People.. the community, stepping up to establish their volunteer fire companies or brigades. Why, our paid - National funded Fire Department (no offense to paid guys). Still not doing pretty well. Since the 1960's ... Due to rampart corruptions.. we have this street slang ... "bribe for spray" .... (Bayad muna bago bomba)....especially big conflagarations.

Filipino businessmen with Chinese descent use to donate fire trucks to the fire department... but because of corruptions and negligence which it takes a decade to replace a simple flat tire. They ended up establishing their own fire brigades. (if you are tourist and plan to visit Manila Chinatown - you will see a lot of fire trucks parked every corner of the district).

In Pasig City where I live, back in 1998. We are the only volunteer fire brigade back then. Now, more than 30  (including my present unit). What complicates more... the city itself established their parallel fire department. City funded and separate funding the national government.

So the funny thing is... our paid national funded government counterpart... their losing their jobs in firefighting. The task left to them is... Arson investigation. or declaring Fire Alarms.

So in contrast to American fire service history... volunteer companies evolved to paid Fire Department.... here its the other way around.

We are sworn in.

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