Here's another story of a homeowner who didn't pay the subscription fee for fire protection, believing that, if he had a fire, the fire department would come anyway.

He was wrong.

This follows the same line of thinking of districts who shut down their departments, believing that, if they needed fire protection, they could rely on mutual aid.

What is wrong with that thinking?

Read the story from Tennessee:



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I guess in a way it's a modern day "Fire Mark". No Jake or LadyJake wants to see a home burn but this is just like having flood have to pay before the H2O comes knocking.

Well, here is my unsolicited opinion.

If a person chooses not to subscribe and they have a fire, the fire department responds, extinguishes the fire and then charge the property owner TWICE the subscription; half of it is for the subscription and the other half is the "late" fee for not paying it. In this case, it would cost the homeowner $150. I think that he would have gladly paid it.

But, I have a couple of questions: if you have your home insured and you DON'T pay the subscription fee and you have a fire, does the insurance company have you insured against fire if you haven't paid the subscription fee?

Also; did anyone else notice when they read the article that the homeowner was quoted as saying that he didn't pay but thought they would come anyway?

In this case, it sounds like he rolled the dice.

Ralph, this is hardly "blackmail."  This is exaclty the type of "freedom" people demand.  Americans hate taxes and big goevernment but when something bad happens, they get pretty pissed off. The homeowner had the freedom to pay this tax or not, took a gamble and expected his neighbors to pick up the slack.  Sorry mate, with freedom comes resonsibility and with responsibiltiy comes consequences. 

Hmmm...Let's install credit card readers on the ambulances and fire apparatus.  After your card clears, we'll go to work.  (yes I'm joking)



For the lower socioeconomic class IT IS BLACKMAIL !!!


If you are poor - you burn baby burn... Because you are poor.

I was thinking that when we charge a person for EMS we're charging their Health Insurance. Same goes for fire. Home owners pay for any cost or damages. I think Renters would be the same way.

One question I have about the Pay or burn is that are businesses charged the same. Is this fee shared with mutual aid?

[quote]INSURANCE IS A LUXURY.[end of quote]

On contraire.

In many states, insurance is a requirement. If you are buying your home and have it financed, you must carry insurance. If you are renting, then the property owner just might want to carry insurance in case you leave a candle burning or have a welding shop set up inside of your living room.

If YOU own the house, you can choose whether you want to carry insurance. If you don't, then you can't have any expectations that your losses will be covered.

And don't forget; you have the Salvation Army, the Red Cross and the good folks of your community to kick in. Though they may not help you pay your way through life, they might kick in an old dresser or kitchen table if you need it.

And in many cases, in your analogy, WE are paying for many of the programs and entitlements that your poor are receiving, including the cell phone with all of the apps and satellite TV.

And for the record, I was poor ONCE. I decided that I didn't like it and WORKED my way out of it.

But, this is entirely off subject.

Back to the discussion.

Have you met the economic crisis... ???


People are not able to afford their mortgage $ - let alone REQUIRED $ for anything.


People are REQUIRED to have car insurance - but lots don't.


but you bring up an interesting point - people's homeowners insurance could pay the subscription fee. but I don't see it happening.


and you bring up an issue of covered losses... so if you are to poor to pay for insurance AND the subscription fee - then sucks to be them ?


people are selling off their property and clothes just to buy food.


people are pushing to have their children put into foster care because they can not feed them.


entire families are moving into homeless shelters or are squatting in someone else's foreclosed home because they have no money for luxuries life insurance & fire protection !!!


and based upon your state program argument - perhaps we should now start a state income-based program to pay for the subscription fee


and NOT everyone can WORK there way out of poverty - BUT that is a different discussion

PSSST; Heather...

The guy that we are talking about COULD pay.

Being too poor isn't the issue here.

Come on, now; get back to the discussion at hand.

We can talk about socialism somewhere else.


I guess we have come to the point in time where we really don't care about people, do I think you should pay your fair share yes but if the house is burning down I believe you have a moral obligation to put it out and figure out the details later. If you are called to a working fire I have always believed you have a duty to act just like an EMS call. It is a black eye to our profession to stand by and watch or drive away. WTF take care of the family.  My question to the Mayor is would you watch if some one was trapped inside. We belong to the greatness profession in the world because we have shown a million times over that we care

A more rational approach is to have a "suppression fee" for homeowners who are not subscribers.

That fee can be set high enough to cover all costs of the firefighting effort.

The homeowner's insurance company would be liable for that fee, less the deductible.


The suppression fee/deductible would give the homeowners and the insurance company an incentive to be subscribers.


Ben - good idea, but I don't see how you would implement it.  The actual cost of putting out a fire is going to be huge - easily up in the 10s of thousands (amortise the costs of your equipment, training, salary, building maintenance, dispatch, etc across the # of calls you run/year).  Are you saying the fire officer needs to negotiate an agreement with the homeowner on the scene while the house burns?  Should they carry a credit card machine on the trucks?  What if the homeowner agrees to pay at the time, then never does?  Does the city sue a guy who just lost his house? 


If you did that (pay to supresss) you would end up with no one paying the annual fee, instead everyone would take the bet that thier house would not catch fire this year.  Also, the public would go compleatly ape when they get socked with a bill for an MVA or alarm bells response, since these would need a dedidcated fee as well. 

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