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.
just like 99% of the replies here......Once we get there, it's our's until it is released back to the owner by the chief. We will NOT let it burn out.
The home owner does have the right to free speech and can say that he wants it to burn. Doesn't mean a lick to us when we're there, but he can still say it. Like mentioned before....we know nothing about the place and it's ongoings.....so legally safer for us to do what we are supposed to do....not to mention environmentally safer too. Although,... I do have to say...it sure is a bitch going through a full barn of hay to make sure it's out. That was a long day.
I would say maybe. They may have the right to let it burn, just like someone has the right to turn down EMT treatment at an scene. Unless, lives are in danger, or a threat of extension to near by exposures. Our department had this happen a couple of times. I found out it was an insurance thing. We had a metal hoop building that the farmer stored his round bales in. Well they caught fire. There was no real apparent dangers involving this fire. So we strictly went defensive. Sure we tried offensive at first, but what was to gain. We then call two other neighboring fire department for mutual aid to help with water transport. We had probably 15 guys from our department and then 12 or so guys from other departments. Afterwards, the farmer, came to us and asked.. Why so much manpower on the scene? We told him it is good to have others in reserve to relieve those who are burnt out and just incase something bad was to happen. Well the farmer then mentioned that on their insurance there is a set amount for fire insurance. Our fire chief is an insurance salesman for his full time job. He filled me in... When the owner gets insurance on a property they have an option to carry fire insurance. For most cases in our area, that amount is only up to usually 1000.00. Many choose the payout to be around 500.00 due to premium charges. So when we got called, then called other departments. The full amount that the insurance company would payout is 1000.00. We have three bills for that fire from other departments totalling over 2200.00... So the rest has to come out of thier pockets. That is why they want it to burn. Ultimatley it is up to the IC on the scene. Thier insurance will pay to replace the building and contents, but it is limited on how much they will pay for the accuall extinquishing of the fire. And pretty much, most barn fires are a total loss anyway,in an adjusters eyes,even if you do put it out. There is always some form of structural damage. Sounded like the owner knew his insurance policy and just wanted to save himdelf money...
I know it doesn't look good when a department gets called to a fire and then doesn't put it out, but sometimes putting it out isnt alway the right answer. Its tough, that is why let you IC make that call, it will be on his shoulders from there..