Should a property owner have the right to tell the OIC to let his property burn.

We recently have an early morning barn fire. We were 2nd due Engine Co in this area. About 10 minutes into the incident, the owner stated to let his 80' x 80' pole barn burn down. It was filled with hay inside and we were able to keep some from burning. Water supply was established from a hydrant about 1 mile away that filled tankers.

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We had this very same thing happen to us a few years back. Our OIC plainly stated to the property owner that the scene was ours and that it would be put out. I understand it that as long as we are on scene we had complete decision making of the structure and made the choice to put it out. I am not saying that this was the right or wrong decision by our OIC.
Once on scene it is not his structure is ours...and the OIC makes all the calls from that point forward....right or wrong it is His/Her call.....Nothing more to say....stay safe...keep the faith....Paul
I have always been told in Georgia that the owner has the right to let it burn as long as a) no lives or other property are in danger b) no money is owed on said building and C) they can not request insurance money.
There was another structure about 150 yards from this on. Here in PA, its the same. Once on scene, the scene is yours. Just not sure why the owner wouldn't allow us to try and save the rest of his hay crop.
Curtis...How are you going to ascertain this while in the middle of trying to put a fire out...? And what about environmental issues...?? Taking someones word on this opens up a whole new can of worms....I still say....If it is burning I'm putting it out.....till my "Boss" (IC) tells me different....Paul
For us in Oz, the legislated powers of the OIC would over rule the owner
Like everyone else has said. It is no longer his poperty once th fire department arrives and begins operations.
same happened here. we were called out to a building fire, which turned out to be an old out building. we started putting it out and the owner came out and ask us what we were doing and wanted us to stop. we told him we were called and its going out.he told us he would just relight it after we left. we reminded him of state law. in wv you cant burn anything man made. only brush. he didnt relight it.
The fire ground is ours here, as well as HAZMAT. We have absolute control over it untill our OIC deems it safe to turn it over to the owner or police depending on the situation.
I don' t know how the IC should ascertain ownership or money owed. This is an old law that is still around. Belive me I would rather put out the fire.

Letting anything burn will make it very difficult to determine the cause and origin.

DEVILS ADVOCATE: Please, please let it burn, I don't have insurance and I own the property. You say OK.

Only later to find out a nasty divorce is happening and the guy is losing everything including this property in which he is not the sole owner of. Therefore, now the fire department most likely owns the property and the fire chief is unemployed.

How do you assure that the owner is actually the owner? Here a tip for ya, put it out. It will keep us out of the media, the law offices and the FFN tabloids...
Well said. This happened to my home dept. not long after I joined. We were called for mutual aid on a barn fire in the middle of the night. The guy had a brand new John Deere combine inside. After battling extremely cold weather and an extremely stubborn fire, the homeowner told the IC that he had just called his insurance company and they said to let it burn. IC released all mutual aid depts. Our guys were extremely leary about leaving. After hearing some of the remarks I realized that putting it out is the only option. FETC has some very valid points.

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