Tennessee Firefighters Let Home Burn Over Subscription Issue

Reprinted with Permission

OBION COUNTY, Tenn. - Imagine your home catches fire but the local fire department won't respond, then watches it burn. That's exactly what happened to a local family tonight.


A local neighborhood is furious after firefighters watched as an Obion County, Tennessee, home burned to the ground.

The homeowner, Gene Cranick, said he offered to pay whatever it would take for firefighters to put out the flames, but was told it was too late. They wouldn't do anything to stop his house from burning.

Each year, Obion County residents must pay $75 if they want fire protection from the city of South Fulton. But the Cranicks did not pay.

The mayor said if homeowners don't pay, they're out of luck.

This fire went on for hours because garden hoses just wouldn't put it out. It wasn't until that fire spread to a neighbor's property, that anyone would respond.

Turns out, the neighbor had paid the fee.

"I thought they'd come out and put it out, even if you hadn't paid your $75, but I was wrong," said Gene Cranick.

Because of that, not much is left of Cranick's house.

They called 911 several times, and initially the South Fulton Fire Department would not come.

The Cranicks told 9-1-1 they would pay firefighters, whatever the cost, to stop the fire before it spread to their house.

"When I called I told them that. My grandson had already called there and he thought that when I got here I could get something done, I couldn't," Paulette Cranick.

It was only when a neighbor's field caught fire, a neighbor who had paid the county fire service fee, that the department responded. Gene Cranick asked the fire chief to make an exception and save his home, the chief wouldn't.

We asked him why.

He wouldn't talk to us and called police to have us escorted off the property. Police never came but firefighters quickly left the scene. Meanwhile, the Cranick home continued to burn.

We asked the mayor of South Fulton if the chief could have made an exception.

"Anybody that's not in the city of South Fulton, it's a service we offer, either they accept it or they don't," Mayor David Crocker said.

Friends and neighbors said it's a cruel and dangerous city policy but the Cranicks don't blame the firefighters themselves. They blame the people in charge.

"They're doing their job," Paulette Cranick said of the firefighters. "They're doing what they are told to do. It's not their fault."

To give you an idea of just how intense the feelings got in this situation, soon after the fire department returned to the station, the Obion County Sheriff's Department said someone went there and assaulted one of the firefighters.

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um? arnt we currently disscusing this in another post? lol



This is the news item under the News tab.

It's really not a "discussion" thread.

It's more of an "FYI".


oh. ok

Those people who called themselves firefighters are not firefighters. because we take an unspoken  oath to protect property and lives. So the so called firefighters broke that oath when they decided to let a man's home burn down. I am one firefighter that would probably have lost his job, because I would have done my job and that is to put out the fire. Those who didn't do their job and waited to put the neighbor's house after it caught fire makes me sick. They should have put both fires out. To me they are not firefighters but sell outs. No mayor for one should say whose house gets saved and whose house gets saved or not. We are firefighters that's our jobs we are suppose to take very proudly, because we are also pillars of the community. I also believe the chief needs to be fired so they can get their respect back with the community they serve.

way to stand behind your brothers!



Not the Mayor's fault.

Fault of the County Commissioners who govern the unincorporated County areas.

What you're suggesting is freelancing.

I suppose your decisions are better than your chiefs.

To whom did the firefighters sell out to?

Oh yeah, mortgage payments, food, that sort of selfish crap.

I dunno that I'd say that every firefighter is a pillar of the community.  Next up - they all wear capes.

Fire the Chief of a city fire department for a problem that is not his fault but that of County Commisioners...can we blame that same chief for the national economy and failing domestic automotive industry as well?  I mean, you appear to be looking for a scape goat.

And not sure how you all do it, but my oath was actually out loud.  Things said out loud are actually more relevant than those that someone just 'thinks' about.

I thought we solved this subscription fire service B.S. back in the 70's under the "preservation of life and property" thing. "sigh" shame on you guys, put the fire out and worry about the money later, thats why we have lawyers. Whats next, subscription health care?...oh yea thats comming, subcribe or go to prison. GOOD RESPONSE SAM 

This is how my FD got started here in N.C.back in 1970 the the local FD  got called to a structure fire, found out that the fire tax was not paid,on that residence....the 2 houses on either side had paid it and they proceeded to protect those houses and let the 1 burn down.....we will celebrate 40 years next year.....WHAT THESE PEOPLE DID WAS CRIMINAL.....sat here a minute and the posts above me...Sam exactly to the point....and I think they were volunteers....sorry Jack....its not freelancing......JUST CRIMINAL

So do they run your tags before cutting you out of your car if called to an MVA with entrapment?!?  They should be absolutely ashamed to call themselves firefighters.  If their municipality owns the trucks, the building, or even the damn pens in their office, the funding should be pulled and let a neighboring company run the calls.


The neighbor whose house was damaged should sue them, and I'm sure the homeowners' insurer will think about it!

Chris Graham,


Have you even bothered to read ANY of the previous comments, here or in the other discussion?  It might help if you do.  

It would be very, very hard for me to stand back & do nothing while a house burned, especially with the owners pleading for it to be saved. I can't say I wouldn't have grabbed a hose & started spraying despite orders, but whether I was the Chief or the rookie, in the back of my mind the thought of loosing my job for disobeying orders made by the local goverment that pays my salary would be a heavy burden. I don't believe in putting the blame soley on the firefighters or their Chief, they where only doing what they have been told to do by those over them.

However, I strongly disagree with the city making a rule that nothing is done if payment is not made. I would have made it to where if an emerency occured at a nonpaying residence they would pay a fine or their tax incresed. If they still didn't pay, go to jail.

Those people who called themselves firefighters are not firefighters. because we take an unspoken oath to protect property and lives


No, such an oath falls on the community. I have no obligations whatsoever to protect property in a neighboring community which has no jurisdiction. This means my obligations are at the discretion of my community. If I get called to assist with automatic or mutual aid, then that is the decision made by the officials in charge. It would be one thing if life was threatened, but that wasn't the case.  


I am one firefighter that would probably have lost his job, because I would have done my job and that is to put out the fire. Those who didn't do their job and waited to put the neighbor's house after it caught fire makes me sick


Your job is also about following orders....that is what the firefighters here did. Are you also advocating freelancing on a fireground then? Are you advocating disobeying rules or orders because you do not agree with them? If so, you are in the wrong profession.


There really is no difference with the firefighters following orders and standing by and the military standing by until ordered in. As such even the military has an oath to protect and defend as well as FOLLOW ORDERS......despite if those orders conflict with what you think should occur.


What makes me sick are people who have no regard for orders and believe freelancing is acceptable.

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