Firefighters Watch Another House Burn To The Ground Because Of Unpaid $75 Fee

In October 2010, firefighters in South Fulton, TN, were criticized all across the country after they refused to put out a fire because the homeowner hadn’t paid a $75 “fire subscription fee” to the city. If you thought such public scrutiny might have changed that policy, think again.

Yesterday, it happened all over again, as firefighters arrived on the scene of a blaze, only to stand and watch the fire burn along with the homeowners.

The deal is this: If you live in the city limits of South Fulton, your property gets service from the firefighters. Live outside city limits, then your option is to ante up the $75 or risk losing everything to a fire.

The mayor believes that if they make an exception for one house, then no one will pay the fee.

“There’s no way to go to every fire and keep up the manpower, the equipment, and just the funding for the fire department,” South Fulton Mayor David Crocker told WPSD-TV. “After the last situation, I would hope that everybody would be well aware of the rural fire fees.”

According to the AP, the homeowners — who are staying for a couple of nights at a local hotel, courtesy of the Red Cross — had no insurance on the property.

Perhaps the city could make a deal where people who don’t pay the $75 fee have to pay a $750 penalty if firefighters are called. That’s just one idea that’s better than making national news every time your hard-line policy is enacted.

Home burns while firefighters watch, again

Firefighters stand by as Tennessee home burns [AP]

Thanks to Daniel and TJ for the tip!

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.