Homeowners in the region outside the town limits of South Fulton, TN, have to pay $75 to come under the protection of the town's firefighters. Late in September, the house of Gene Cranick, who had not paid his $75 for the year, caught fire. When the fire department arrived, they announced that since Cranick had not paid his fees, his house would be allowed to burn to the ground. Cranick offered to pay the $75, but the firefighters weren't having any of it. They eventually acted to put out the fire when it spread to the home of a neighbor who had previously paid. As the mayor said, " if homeowners don't pay, they're out of luck."
The Cranicks told 9-1-1 they would pay firefighters, whatever the cost, to stop the fire before it spread to their house.
Firefighters watch as home burns to the ground
"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.
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