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October 06, 2010

More on the South Fulton FD Brouhaha

The more I read about this South Fulton FD brouhaha, the more mystified I am by the outrage it seems to have touched off.

Most of the commentary I've read so far seems to expect the city of South Fulton to provide fire protection for people who don't live in Fulton and don't pay Fulton taxes. This is just bizarre: the city has no ability to enforce collections or levy a tax on non-city residents. As it turns out, Obion county voted to create a county fire department over twenty years ago. There's just one problem: they "forgot" (seems to be a lot of that going around) to pay for it.

From the document Craig linked, this gem leaps out:

According to survey information, over 75% of all municipal fire department’s structure calls are rural. All fire departments in Obion County charge a $500.00 fee per call in rural areas, but collections are, less than 50% and the fire departments have no way of legally collecting the charge. Therefore, the service was provided at the expense of the municipal tax payer.

That's just stunning. Essentially Obion county expects a small minority of citizens living in incorporated areas to foot the bill for everyone else. Must be nice to be a county resident - your commissioners vote to create imaginary unfunded county fire departments and then freeload off incorporated areas and citizens who understand that services cost money.

Now let's apply this to the "city" of South Fulton, a sprawling metropolis spanning a truly impressive 3 square miles. South Fulton boasts a population of 2500 residents whose median household income amounts to the princely sum of $27,500 a year. I'm not sure what egalitarian theory of social justice would require this tiny, not terribly well off group of taxpayers to shoulder the burden of maintaining a fire department that fights 3 times more fires OUTSIDE the city limits that it does INSIDE the city limits, but undoubtedly it has something to do with the well known inability of conservatives women to handle complex mathematical problems.

Let's look at the facts here:

1. This is not the first time the Cranicks "forgot" to pay their attention bill fire subscription.

2. It's also not the first fire at the Cranick residence:

The Cranicks said they also forgot to pay their fire service fee on time about three years ago. But the fire department then did not hesitate to put out a chimney fire and let them pay the fee the next day.

Now perhaps it's just me, two fires at the same residence in a 3 year period seems like a pattern of carelessness to me - especially when combined with a pattern of "forgetting" to pay your bills.

3. Cranick didn't just "forget" to pay the fee. He was sent a bill and then was called and reminded. How much effort is the city of Fulton required to exert to get people to subscribe to a voluntary service? They have to pay people to work billing and collections, have no way to enforce collections, and only recover 50% of unpaid bills.

4. This year's fire was started by (you guessed it!) a member of the Cranick family:

The fire started when the Cranicks' grandson was burning trash near the family home.

5. Cranick's fire insurance requires that he participate in the fire subscription!

Simmons said he knows of one other time this has happened. He said the insurance policy has a provision for a reduction in payouts if a fire protection service has not been subscribed but that the insurer has not enforced that in these situations.

But rules are for other people.

Sorry, I'm seeing a pattern of carelessness here. But wait - it gets even better! After not paying their fire subscription - not once, but TWICE in three years and having not one but TWO fires in three years, how does Cranick's son respond?

By going over to the fire station and cold cocking the Fire Chief!

I'm having a hard time buying these people as victims, but if anyone else is to blame here, it's the county and not the city of South Fulton. As further evidence of this, the county has just voted to make the fire subscription service county-wide (previously only a few lucky cities offered fire service outside city limits):

The municipalities named would agree to provide rural fire service outside of their established town and city limits and would agree to expand their rural fire service areas as indicated on a map which defines the areas in which the present municipal fire departments provide rural fire protection.

Each municipality would agree to implement a standard subscription rate, with individual properties classified by a parcel number as listed on the county tax assessor’s map/tax card and a separate subscription fee to be charged for each parcel/address for which the customer desires to have rural fire protection coverage.
According to the pro-posed agreement, South Fulton intends to provide rural fire service outside its city limits as directed by its city commission in a designated fire service area and would not be a party to the interlocal agreement.

There are obviously real issues here with funding and they can only be addressed by the county. But it's easier to ignore the facts and place the blame on one of the few cities in Obion that actually tried to help county residents.

Update: an excellent and informative response from the Union City FD:

So much “finger pointing” has ensued, that the true facts of the incident have been blown out of proportion. The firefighters in this county are taking a beating when it is not their fault; nor is it the cities responsibility. It’s a county problem.

The first point that needs to be noted is that Obion County Tennessee does not have a county fire department. Secondly, no county tax revenues are even ear marked for county fire protection.

The county is made up of 8 municipalities which do provide fire protection to its city residents, through city property taxes, which fund their respective fire departments.

Three of theses cities, South Fulton; Kenton and Union City allow their departments to respond outside the city limits by way of a Subscription Service which charges a $75 yearly fee to receive fire protection. After they respond to a “members” fire, the member is billed $500 for the response.

Why the $75 and a charge of $500? This can be compared to any insurance. You have a premium; the $75 and then you have a deductable; the $500. The policy, of these cities is that if the fee isn’t paid, then the fire department does not respond. The only exception being; life endangerment. (A report that someone may be inside the home.)

These fees help offset the cost of equipment and manpower, paid for by the city tax payers to help fight fires in the county.

The remaining 5 city fire departments have for years responded into the county without a subscription service, banking on collecting fees for their services, “after the fact.” The problem has been, that once those people have been provided the service; they often seem to choose not to reimburse. Attempting to charge on a per call basis does not generate the needed funds nor does it give county residents an incentive to support the cities, if they can wait until they actually have a fire to pay anything.

I wish my car insurance company would let me “wait” until I had an accident before I had to pay my premium. Why should fire service be looked at any different? The fire service has gotten expensive just like anything else. If it is not run as a business it won’t be around for anybody.

Those city fathers have reached the point where they can no longer ‘foot the bill” for county residents using city tax payers monies.

The fire chiefs have spent four years working with the county to address the problem Nothing short of a true fire tax will remedy the situation completely. But for now the county at this time is considering everyone going to a subscription service. Yes, this would help fund the remaining 5 departments, but it will not keep what happened to South Fulton from happening again.

Posted by Cassandra at October 6, 2010 05:37 PM

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This doesn't exactly sound like he "forgot":

"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.

Sounds pretty willful and intentional to me.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at October 7, 2010 11:14 AM

This is what is known in economic terms as a trade off. Pay your fire subscription service and if you don't have a fire then it's money wasted, pay your subscription service fees and have a fire and it's money well spent. Don't pay your subscription service and have a fire...and well we see what happens.

The family here is not the victim. They made a decision not to participate in the subscription service.

What is truly amazing is that the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) have come out blasting the fire protection service in the County for not doing more.


The IAFF is only concerned with generating membership in it's rolls, and eliminating the volunteer fie service in this country.

The truth is; this type of fire protection is in place in many parts of the country, and it isn't a problem for the responsible, only the irresponsible.

It's families like this that give government the belief that they do know better how to care for us than we can care for ourselves.

Posted by: David M at October 7, 2010 11:15 AM

There are really two very trivial answers to this problem.

1) The county can add a flat $75 charge to county property taxes and pay for the fire subscription service on the owner's behalf, thus ensuring all county residence have fire protection.

2) The city of South Fulton can terminate the subscription service and let all county residents fend for themselves.

Personally, I'd opt for the latter and follow up with a letter to all the rural subscibers that if they are unhappy about the change to thank all the whining crybabies.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at October 7, 2010 11:24 AM

I didn't have time to read the final link carefully but I believe S Fulton has opted out of the county's "solution":

The agreement would be among the communities of Hornbeak, Kenton, Obion, Rives, Samburg, Troy and Union City, as well as the Obion County Emergency Communications District (E-911) as the fire dispatch agency for all municipalities in the agreement and Obion County....According to the pro-posed agreement, South Fulton intends to provide rural fire service outside its city limits as directed by its city commission in a designated fire service area and would not be a party to the interlocal agreement.

Interesting, no es verdad?

The reporting on this issue is as near to blissfully fact free as I've ever seen. I lost track of the articles that said "someone" (as in "Whoever could it be") dropped by the S Fulton FD and attacked the fire chief.

Because, you know, we wouldn't want people to know it was Cranick's 44 year old son.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 7, 2010 11:32 AM

Why doesn't the insurance company pay the fee for them?
It would seem to be in the ins company's interest.

Posted by: Marvin at October 7, 2010 11:34 AM

If the county wants to mandate a county fire protection, that's entirely within their purview. However, I think the county's municipalities should decline to participate, and the Cranick's behavior (I think you're being generous when you call it a pattern of carelessness--it seems more like criminal negligence, to me, compounded by the criminal assault apparently executed by the firestarter) is an outstanding example of why. The municipalities should advise the county that since the county has created a fire department (indeed, it's been sitting around idle for two decades, apparently), it is fully capable of equipping, manning, and funding it, and henceforth the municipalities withdraw their fire coverage to within the city limits; extending it beyond is duplicative and a waste of the taxpayers' money.

From the article you cited, Cassandra: Ironically, the issue of county-wide fire protection resurfaced and discussion of an agreement began a little over two years ago following a similar rural fire situation near South Fulton. Hmm....

And the municipalities--and the county--should invite the pious IAFF to come in and help the county's brand, spanking new, 20-year-old fire department. Perhaps some pro bono manning, and/or some fire truck donations, and/or some money contributions could be provided by these worthies.

Oh, wait, the liberal mantra trumps. "I'm a victim, and you have money. You owe me." Or in the words of our illustrious president, "You have enough fire protection. Spread your excess around. [My definition of excess. Never mind that fire equipment and personnel responding to a scofflaw's carelessly set and managed fire will be unavailable to respond to a city resident's fire.]"

Eric Hines

Posted by: E Hines at October 7, 2010 11:43 AM

Why doesn't the insurance company pay the fee for them?
It would seem to be in the ins company's interest.

!? The subscription fee was a requirement of the fire damage coverage. The failure to pay--twice in three years!--would seem to invalidate the coverage. Why doesn't the insurance company refuse to pay the damages and refuse to continue to insure these...people?

Eric Hines

Posted by: E hines at October 7, 2010 11:46 AM

They may not be participating in the county's subscription plan, but it does appear they are maintaining their own rural subscription plan.

If I were the mayor, I'd bow out of both.

It actually may not be. Plans like this work because the aggregate cost of the fee is greater than the aggregate expense of putting out the fire. That is the entire business model of insurance.

Paying $75 for 10k homes per year and you only break even if you have more than $750k in property damage. Given that the median income is a whopping $28k the average home value can't be much more than $50k-$60k. So there would need to be around 12-15 houses destroyed per year before you reach breakeven. If there is less than that, the insurance companies actually comes out ahead by letting the houses burn.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at October 7, 2010 11:52 AM

I read two other things but can't find the cite for one of them anymore:

1. Cranick's son started a fire in a burn barrel and then left it unattended to go inside the house and take a shower.

I kid you not.

When he came back outside, the fire had spread to a nearby shed.

When my kids were 1 and 3, our neighbor started a brush fire burning trash that rapidly spread to the pine woods behind all our houses. I had to put it out with a jury rigged series of hoses (I got neighbors to connect a series of hoses and run them from my house to theirs).

After the fire was under control, the husband (who had started the fire earlier in the day) saunters up the driveway from his car (yes, this dimwit started a fire and then left it unattended, unless you count his wife, who also could not be bothered to watch the fire).


2. I also read that they fought the fire for quite some time before it reached the house. And yet no one thought to rescue the family pets from the house?

Posted by: Cassandra at October 7, 2010 11:53 AM

Once again, I side with the Metro FD on this one. The jackwagon decided that $7 per month was too much money (AFTER he got burnt, forgive the pun, once before) and he suffered for it. Decisions have consequences.

Posted by: MikeD at October 7, 2010 04:44 PM

We had the same system in Minnesota when I lived on the lake. You pay a fee to the nearby town or you have no coverage (and your homeowner's insurance premium is higher).

County-wide systems have been studied to death and always founder on "fairness." Able's country manor on 5 acres has a fair market value of $500,000 - what should his premium be? Baker's small house on 40 acres has the same market value but that's mostly land value and land doesn't burn. Charlie owns 160 acres with only a corn crib or grain bin but the same market value as Able and Baker - does Charlie pay for coverage he can't use?

I noticed these people are now living in a trailer home on their land. Sounds like the Peter Principle is working just fine.

Posted by: joe doakes at October 7, 2010 05:01 PM

Let em burn.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at October 7, 2010 05:03 PM

Disappointing! This policy should be reviewed and revised if they want to get out clean from half of the worlds resentment.

Posted by: Mage at October 7, 2010 11:29 PM

Just for the record, South Fulton has a population of 2,517. Most of you have more people living on your block then live in South Fulton.

population of Obion County, Tennessee is 31,375. They are not exactly busting at the seems.

Posted by: Russ at October 8, 2010 12:26 AM

This policy should be reviewed and revised if they want to get out clean from half of the worlds resentment.

Why should they care about "half the world's resentment?" Half the world aren't paying taxes--or subscription fees--for this town's firefighting services. Nor is half the world in a position to do, or decline to do, business with the town. Nor is half the world offering anything actually constructive for the situation--just empty opprobrium from that insignificant portion of "half the world" that deigns even think on the matter.

Eric Hines

Posted by: E Hines at October 8, 2010 08:32 AM

As I said last go around, this was a failure of the county gubmint to plan for adequate fire protection/emergency response for all of its residents.

It looks like the county budget committee is proposing a 7 city subscription plan similar to what South Fulton is already doing.

As the UC fire chief correctly points out, the budget committee's recommendation does nothing to prevent the exact same thing from happening again in the future.

Posted by: Craig at October 8, 2010 09:47 AM

failure of the county gubmint to plan [adequately]

Amen to that. Extending from the UC fire chief's remarks, this might better be an area for a county-wide tax for county-wide protection.

Eric Hines

Posted by: E Hines at October 8, 2010 09:56 AM

As I said last go around, this was a failure of the county gubmint to plan for adequate fire protection/emergency response for all of its residents.

Yes and no, I think.

In this case, because city dwellers are footing more than their share of the bill for fire fighting services, the county ought to impose a county wide tax. But I think Joe made an excellent point here:

Able's country manor on 5 acres has a fair market value of $500,000 - what should his premium be? Baker's small house on 40 acres has the same market value but that's mostly land value and land doesn't burn. Charlie owns 160 acres with only a corn crib or grain bin but the same market value as Able and Baker - does Charlie pay for coverage he can't use?

It seems to me that some kind of hybrid system might work - maybe a flat acreage tax (X dollars per acre of land) coupled with a real property tax (Y dollars per 100K of assessed value of the real property) might work? Not sure how hard this would be to administer in a rural area though.

Part of the problem here is that TN has no income tax - I was surprised more people didn't remark on this.

The spousal unit and I have been considering retirement states and the lack of income tax is a powerful incentive... until you consider that this also means a corresponding lack of services.

Tradeoffs, again :)

Posted by: Cassandra at October 8, 2010 10:18 AM

This event has been leaped on by those who want to declare a free market failure.

But let's not forget the FD was a public, not private actor.

Seems to me that the only real issue is whether the FD's past history had reasonably induced county residents into believing that they would get service without paying the subscription fee. They need to treat everyone who hadn't paid the same, not save some, not others. Sometimes not being a hardass consistently gets you into trouble!

Posted by: ruralcounsel at October 8, 2010 10:34 AM

The reason why a county-wide fire service is necessary is stated in the 2008 plan:

Fire departments don’t just put out fires; they are the leading agency in all disasters,
whether natural or manmade. In February 2008 deadly tornadoes raced through West
Tennessee resulting in several deaths and millions of dollars in damage. Fire departments
are the first ones out and the last ones in when a disaster happens.

Posted by: Craig at October 8, 2010 10:42 AM

Able's country manor on 5 acres has a fair market value of $500,000 - what should his premium be? Baker's small house on 40 acres has the same market value but that's mostly land value and land doesn't burn. Charlie owns 160 acres with only a corn crib or grain bin but the same market value as Able and Baker - does Charlie pay for coverage he can't use?

I think this argument has a measure (not a full one) of speciousness. Consider the use of property taxes to fund education. The property-owning young couples and the property-owning aged, all childless, pay the same property tax rates as do those property owners with children. The underlying premise is that all, whether childed (!) or childless, benefit more or less equally from an educated population. So it is with property owners, who regardless of property value, benefit (in the stability of those values, for instance) more or less equally from an adequately fire-protected community. There are complications, to be sure, and it's possible to parse such things down to a gnat's patootie in the quest for fairness, but sometimes it's better to follow Alexander's example as he applied his bronze KISS implement to the Gordian knot.

The spousal unit and I have been considering retirement states and the lack of income tax is a powerful incentive... until you consider that this also means a corresponding lack of services.

Texas has no income tax, and its sales tax isn't too ugly. I don't think I'm too lacking in services. Or in Second Amendment rights enforcement.

Eric Hines

Posted by: E Hines at October 8, 2010 11:05 AM

Craig, this is one of those times when you and I are mostly in agreement. I don't have a problem with government providing public goods that individuals can't provide for themselves.

Conservatives don't believe that government has NO role in these types of areas. Our disagreement is more about what constitutes public goods.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 8, 2010 11:07 AM

omg the world is ending. watch out

Posted by: Ymarsakar at October 8, 2010 11:52 AM

Cass, just pick a suburb around Nashville or Knoxville and you will have the best of both worlds. Lots of room, lots of service, and no income tax.

Posted by: Russ at October 8, 2010 01:39 PM

I drove through both years ago when I was taking the kids out to the West Coast. The two states where I was tempted just to stop driving were TN and Wyoming.

Just beautiful, but then I love mountains.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 8, 2010 02:21 PM

I think what got people stirred up about the S. Fulton situation was that they handled some calls outside of their primary service area but not all, which means they might be responding to, say, three houses on a single street but not their five neighbors. Everyone knows and accepts that no fire department, whether paid or volunteer, is responsible for all the fires in the world. What upsets them is the idea of treating close neighbors differently. Personally I see no earthly reason not to treat close neighbors differently, if one signed up for fire service and the other didn't. If you don't have a mortgage, you're not required to carry fire insurance, either, so what's the difference?

The State of Texas permits, but does not require, counties and even smaller areas to form Emergency Services Districts with taxing powers. Our county has not elected to do that yet, and may not for a long time. Extending the fire service coverage countywide and funding it with a universal tax is not the only appropriate arrangement for rural areas. Volunteer fire departments work just fine, and if the residents of a particular area don't get it together either to form one or to join a neighboring one, it seems to me that's up to them.

Posted by: Texan99 at October 8, 2010 02:51 PM

I think what got people stirred up about the S. Fulton situation was that they handled some calls outside of their primary service area but not all....

I think another thing that got people stirred up was the sense of entitlement of the particular "victims." The fire department had responded to an earlier call and given them a break over the first nonpayment of the subscription fee, but when confronted with another attempt to free ride, now in the face of an established pattern of, at best, carelessness, coupled with repeated decisions not to pay, they had to refuse and uphold the principals at hand.

Eric Hines

Posted by: E Hines at October 8, 2010 03:08 PM

I've seen all the comments in all the usual places and there is a real moral gut check moment here being missed by everyone I've read so far. and it's driving me crazy. Do people realize that while that Fire Department is engaged in that fire they cannot respond to anything other than some minor incident? The fire department for each city is already bare bones and not well enough equipped for their own small areas.

I feel there is a need to understand the a real cost to being so underfunded, understaffed and having an unappreciated fire department. It costs lives. People are up in arms over a house. In the real costs pictures and pets can't be replaced but they are nowhere near as irreplaceable as a human life. Replacing everything you own cannot compare to losing someone you love.

I'm from a small town in S. Ill. When one of my family members there dialed 911 in emergency there was no one available to help. Why? Because they were all in use. We had five times Obions equipment and personnel and it was still not enough. This is a glaring omission in discussion from the media and esp from the left. All you need is one major incident and these folks will have all the equipment tied up from more than one city.

In our case the resources of two counties were tied up with traffic accidents and fires. I can only see this issue from a wider perspective. There is a real limit to the ability of even a great fire department.

My Aunt's situation was an unreal and unusual situation where not even one ambulance was available from two counties. The nearest available help was over 20 minutes because they were very busy cutting people out of cars and fighting fires. We learned the hard way you can never invest enough time or money when it comes to protecting lives.

Over time the Fire District built up a very large cooperative emergency structure. Now even with such a large department there is a limit in ability to respond. You can stress Safety, First Aid and CPR all you want, but without extensive training some people lose their minds when a loved one is in need. Because basic training cannot replace what the Volunteer Fire Departments do in real life all the time. If the Fire and Rescue can't respond you are on your own. (But that's a whole other subject.)

While there are differences in the Cranicks' situation and ours. A simple need for an ambulance, paramedic or even someone thinking clearly would have changed things for us. Yet the outcome is the same. limited resources gives a limited response.

The Obion citizens are willfully risking lives by refusing to pay a lousy $45 tax proposed by the County officials for years now. They are being short sighted, selfish and if you want to make a moral case out of it, they are willfully risking lives by being so utterly irresponsible to save so few dollars.

South Fulton's resources wouldn't even make up 1 firehouse from my hometown (which is comparable a rural farming community). Their city only has 2 small engines and an 18k gal tanker. There are only 4 paid firefighters two of which are part time. The other 15 are all volunteer. Their equipment is cast off and used. They work tons of hours and this is the thanks they get. The Fire Chief has a responsibility to use his greatest resource, the fire fighters, in the best way possible. But he wouldn't be doing so if he allowed them to be constantly over worked and constantly fighting fires to the point where he starts seeing losses in people and safety. He cannot run a fire department under duress either. Not to mention how do you continue to get people to volunteer not only their time but their own money and vehicles for this? Fire fighting when last I checked, was more than just spraying water on a fire. If it weren't then we'd all fight our own fires.

If the county residents continue to refuse to build a cooperative district for fire and rescue they are going to start paying in lives rather than property. Perhaps this is the lesson these people need to really learn. The City has gone out of it's way to help their neighbors in the county. Yet the county people are not being fair. This is a service everyone obviously needs. Yet only some of them are responsible enough to pay for it . Those paying for it are receiving the least protection.

I can't speak for the Fire Chief , I don't know him or of him at all. I'm not saying this Fire chief has, and I'm engaging in pure speculation here. But I wonder, could a Fire Chief be forced into a situation where they had to let a house burn down to get these basic points across? Oddly a worse thought is that his back be against the wall to the point where he's been forced into making such a decision because of his limited resources. Whatever the reason, It all comes down to the need to invest in fire protection and safety. The Fire Chief has to know people are going to lose more than things. I would bet that no one there wants to give it much thought. I wonder if the loss of property is the only thing that is getting into these peoples heads. And still their response is to blame the Fire Dept as being solely responsible for this outcome.

While idiots elsewhere try to portray this as a strong arm tactic to force people to pay or lose in a Chicago thug sort of way, have any of them put themselves in the place of either of the Chief or these Fire Fighters? They are being asked to do more and more with less and less. Fighting fires seems to have become a full time job for many of the Volunteers. There is a breaking point here. Who knows they may have already suffered some loss in life that people aren't considering here. I'm sure there's more facts to this case than a heartless Fire Chief that is letting houses burn down over a simple $75 fee.

Facts so far suggest other wise. Facts suggest he is obeying the city of South Fulton in helping out the county when he isn't even receiving enough funding to fulfill the needs of the city. Facts suggest at this point he's begging for funding to fulfill the basic obligations already not met. Their city budget for fire equipment is meager to say the least.

I've known many people in Fire and Rescue. I have learned to give them the benefit of waiting until the facts are in, before judging them as the heartless bunch the media has done. Imagine, how it would feel, and it happens, that they want to help but cannot because their resources have been stretched so thin. At that moment someone has to decide who to save and more importantly who they have to let go . Imagine being them and have to focus on saving this person, people, or properties, all while knowing someone else is dying . They know how to help and are even prepared too but are otherwise engaged. Sometimes these do happen, and they will have to live with that. It has to be unimaginably hard. Once they have responded to a fire they can rarely leave it to go somewhere else. The minute the Fire Chief commits to fighting this house fire he has committed those resources to be unavailable. He then puts himself and his fire fighters in the situation where they have to make the choice to pull the only water truck or other piece of vital equipment from this fire or possibly finding that it's now to late to move it and someone's going to die or be hurt. They cannot always respond fast enough. Minutes do matter is more than a catch phrase. It's reality.

Fire Fighters don't deserve to be abused or overworked in this fashion. They are not slave labor. Just because they can doesn't mean they always should. There are feasible reasons why they shouldn't. In fact there seems to be a greater argument that South Fulton shouldn't even be providing this service to the county at all. They are simply ill equipped for even their own needs. They should be honored for their dedication and rewarded with enough personnel and equipment to be able to save and protect both lives and property.

They sure as hell didn't deserve the immediate ire of the public from all over of judging them without knowing the full reasons why they let a house burn down when it is contrary to everything we each know about Fire Departments.

Whatever has happened to put them into this situation? Have houses burnt down in the city while they are out in the county fighting fires? Have lives been lost or endangered? Or does the Fire Chief just see what's coming and can't convince any of them they are going to begin paying in lives not property?

Posted by: MS at October 8, 2010 03:47 PM

Love, love, love your comment, MS.

I almost brought this up in a prior post but didn't because it was already too long so I'm thrilled you made the point. And you're right - I didn't see anyone out there pointing out that a small FD cannot be two places at one time.

Thanks for a very thoughtful addition to the conversation.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 8, 2010 03:54 PM

I'm glad I didn't offend. I thought of not posting because of length, pressed post anyways. I was a little worried there but you're such a sweet soul .. shhh I won't tell anyone. I know it's a sekrit. I'm very glad you approved.

Posted by: MS at October 8, 2010 03:58 PM

I'm glad I didn't offend....I'm very glad you approved.

Cassandra isn't the only one. You spoke for a lot of us on a point we'd missed, or let slide in favor of other points.

Further, even if you had offended--which you did not--we're all big boys and girls here. Our hides are suitably hard.

Eric Hines

Posted by: E Hines at October 8, 2010 04:16 PM

I'm the last person on earth who would be offended at a lengthy comment :p

I'm shocked every time someone makes it through one of my posts!

Posted by: Cassandra at October 8, 2010 04:19 PM

ahh but I have for years and love your blog.
Meanwhile I checked the hometown news paper . It takes 2 tankers 3 grass trucks and every available fireman for a corn field fire started by a burning barrel. Even then they lost 50 acres of corn and barely saved the house Another Item in the news was County fire ban this being the third such fire. Duh. County Residents know better.

Perhaps it's not more firemen we need but more trash trucks. But then people pay more for trash pick up monthly than fire fighters. There's either a joke or a statement about society in there somewhere.

Posted by: MS at October 8, 2010 04:30 PM

Great points, MS.

Posted by: htom at October 9, 2010 12:23 AM