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Firefighters Let House Burn Because Owner Didn't Pay Fee

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the deadly-serious-homeowner's-association dept.

Government 2058

Dthief writes "From MSNBC: 'Firefighters in rural Tennessee let a home burn to the ground last week because the homeowner hadn't paid a $75 fee. Gene Cranick of Obion County and his family lost all of their possessions in the Sept. 29 fire, along with three dogs and a cat. "They could have been saved if they had put water on it, but they didn't do it," Cranick told MSNBC's Keith Olbermann. The fire started when the Cranicks' grandson was burning trash near the family home. As it grew out of control, the Cranicks called 911, but the fire department from the nearby city of South Fulton would not respond.'"

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Well Duh (4, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 3 years ago | (#33808674)

Uhhh, yea. That's how it works.

Your city and county taxes pay for fire departments. If your county is too poor to pay for a fire department, you may have a volunteer fire department, or the nearest municipality may charge a fee to cover service. If you don't pay that fee, you don't get fire protection.

It ain't rocket science. Some bubba sets his own house on fire, and then whines because the people he didn't pay, didn't come to put it out. I've lived in Tennesee: they really don't like taxes there. That's fine, but there are consequences.

You're kidding, right? (1, Insightful)

Karunamon (1845630) | more than 3 years ago | (#33808712)

That's a load of sh*t and you know it. Why not put out the fire and then bill him for the $75? Having them show up but refuse to put water to flame is just plain mean on a level I don't quite have the words to describe. And they *did* have to show up - to make sure the neighbor's houses didn't burn down. I'd say the FD should be on the hook for the cost of the house, reckless endangerment, and cruelty to animals.

Re:You're kidding, right? (5, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 3 years ago | (#33808780)

Wouldn't work. Look, it's not like there are fire hydrants out there. That fire department depends on those fees to get tank trucks and other stuff you have to have to fight rural fires. If you could just pay as you go, then no one would ever pay, and the fire department wouldn't be able to afford the equipment.

Re:You're kidding, right? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33808954)

Easy solution: Put out the fire, then hit him with a massive fine. Say 10x the actual cost of fighting the fire.

Re:You're kidding, right? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33808998)

Sound's like commyarnism to me.

Re:You're kidding, right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33809108)

While I agree that if it was left to "pay as you use," there'd be a lot less money coming (much like insurance - how many people pay in to their house/car/medical insurance and never use it?).

Still, the FD came out, and only did what was necessary to protect the neighbors house. THEY WERE RIGHT THERE! That's just seems mean to me!

You'd think they'd have a contingency, where they could charge $75 preventive fees, or - something like $500 or $750 for on-the-spot coverage. Not sure if that would cover for those who would no longer pay the preventative fee, however. But at least that higher amount would have at least saved the guy's house.

They were right there at the property. If a person was inside the building, would they have saved the person? They didn't save the pets, but could they be required to?

Nope, not kidding. (2, Insightful)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 3 years ago | (#33808796)

Load of shit? Ok, I have 200 people under this arrangement. 100 pay, 100 don't. One of the 100 who don't pay end up needing the service. I bill him $75 but the other 99 don't pay but, in effect, got the service.

What is the incentive for ANYONE to pay in this type of arrangement?

Re:Nope, not kidding. (0)

mcvos (645701) | more than 3 years ago | (#33808868)

Then charge him $7500 for needing the FD without having paid the fee. Still better than letting the house burn down.

Re:Nope, not kidding. (4, Insightful)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 3 years ago | (#33808948)

Basically you are now forcing firefighters to be bill collectors. What do they do, negotiate with the guy on the spot?

No, the real problem is with having a voluntary fee for a collective, necessary service. Don't blame the firefighters. Blame the government that set up a no-win situation.

Re:Nope, not kidding. (0, Redundant)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 3 years ago | (#33809024)

How is that a no win situation?

Pay your service fees if you wish to receive your service.

It's a win-win.

Re:Nope, not kidding. (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 3 years ago | (#33808962)

Except now you're making assumptions about the value of the house, vs the value of the insurance on it. It is entirely possible that a 'totaled' home would be of a benefit to the homeowner that exceeds the value of a 'damaged home minus $7500'.

So long as no humans were allowed to die, I think the minimum standard was met.

Re:Nope, not kidding. (0, Offtopic)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 3 years ago | (#33808982)

I'd be fine with something like this. Put out his fire, then charge him for the entire fee he would have had to pay (plus interest) from the last time it was paid, or from when he bought the house.

There is still a problem with the money coming in for equipment, though.

Re:Nope, not kidding. (4, Insightful)

metlin (258108) | more than 3 years ago | (#33808966)

You've essentially described one of the fundamental problems with public goods -- if it's provided for the benefit of all, how do you avoid free-riders?

While there are several solutions (and theories) in place, the fact remains that you'll always have a percentage of free-riders. Of course, in a purely capitalistic model, this is solved because every service has an associated cost with it, and those that don't pay the cost don't get the service (e.g. this case). In socialism, you pay a larger chunk (e.g. taxes) and you get a plethora of services, freeing you from the worry of particular services -- but then, you do not get to pick and choose.

Typically, life-or-death services (e.g. police/fire) fall under the latter, but I guess rural Tennessee is different.

Re:You're kidding, right? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33808798)

That would set a terrible precedent. Everyone would see that the $75 was not required and opt out. The FD would only be able to collect from people that had fires. I doubt that would be anywhere NEAR enough money to keep them operating unless they drastically increased the fee. Defeats the purpose of the shared resource if you get socked with a $50,000 bill when you had a house fire...

Re:You're kidding, right? (-1, Troll)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#33808816)

why that ther' would be commie pinko socialism, and we can't have that. next thing ya know they gays and mexicans will come into ma house and tell me how ta live~

Re:You're kidding, right? (1)

jrguthrie (635839) | more than 3 years ago | (#33808824)

Because no one would pay the fee unless their house was on fire. It costs far more than $75 to put out the fire. This person does not live in the coverage area for this fire department. The department is nice enough to extend service to these people outside their area if they choose to "subscribe". This person didn't subscribe so they don't get the service. It's a simple concept.

Re:You're kidding, right? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33808836)

That's a load of sh*t and you know it. Why not put out the fire and then bill him for the $75?

That's in the article, too, if common sense couldn't tell you: then instead of paying an annual fee, people would only pay if and when their house is on fire. And since that's pretty rare, the fee would have to be raised to a ridiculous amount to cover the costs of the fire department.

I think the best solution for essential services like these is to make paying for them mandatory, i.e. by including the costs in taxes.

Re:You're kidding, right? (2, Interesting)

darkwing_bmf (178021) | more than 3 years ago | (#33808958)

The service obviously wasn't "essential." The home owners are still alive. If they thought their home was worth more than $75 they would have paid the bill.

Re:You're kidding, right? (1)

SoTerrified (660807) | more than 3 years ago | (#33808844)

That's a load of sh*t and you know it. Why not put out the fire and then bill him for the $75?

You're kidding, right? Maybe you don't get how this whole thing works, but it's like insurance. It's $75 per person because you assume that for many, their house will not burn down. But if you change it so "When you get a fire, call us and we'll charge you there", well, then the actual price would be up in the thousands.

But that doesn't work either! Because a fire department has to budget, pay salaries, get equipment, have storage facilities, etc. This takes money UP FRONT. You can't just spend it out of your own pocket, then HOPE someone has a fire.

Sorry Karunamon, you claim the way it works as a "load of sh*t", yet it works. None of your suggestions work at all.

Re:You're kidding, right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33808914)

That sounds like socialism to me!!!!

The Better Policy (2, Insightful)

WED Fan (911325) | more than 3 years ago | (#33808850)

Perhaps the better policy would be to go ahead and fight the fire and then put a lein on the property. So, you pay the yearly fee, or in case of fire, you pay a fine.

Re:You're kidding, right? (1)

anUnhandledException (1900222) | more than 3 years ago | (#33808902)

Really?

Kinda like taking out a life insurance policy after you die?
Or getting healthcare insurance after the triple bypass surgery?
Or getting homeowners insurance after your house is on fire?

Obviously the $75 cost isn't per incident. It is per protected home and a small (1%) number of those homes catches fire each year.

No firedept could operate collecting only $75 per incident. The $75 from the 99 out of 100 homes which don't burn subsidizes the cost of operation for the 1 in 100 which does burn.

Re:You're kidding, right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33808904)

You _do_ realise, of course, that the operation costs far more than $75?
$75 is the insurrance cost, and the system works if everyone pays to spread the cost for the few interventions needed.
If you do not want to pay, the minimum bill should be the full cost (and preferably twice that, since you're playing the lottery with your house and life). Plus the reckless endangerment of your neighbours.

Solidarity only works if you invest in it even when you do not need it right now.

Re:You're kidding, right? (1)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 3 years ago | (#33808952)

Charge them the cost of putting out the fire plus 10%

This means that it is still better to pay the 75$, the fire company doesn't lose any money, the local government earns property taxes from the still existant house, the people still live there and don't go on welfare since they wouldn't be homeless.

Or we could just say 'RULES ARE RULES' and put on the blinders.

Re:You're kidding, right? (1)

KDN (3283) | more than 3 years ago | (#33808978)

If they let the home owner pay the $75 when his home was on fire then no one would pay it until their house was on fire and they would go out of business. What would have been reasonable would be if the owner could sign a contract on the spot to pay for the entire cost of the incident, which is probably in the thousands of dollars. In that way the owner has the choice, and the responsibility: (a)Pay the fee as an insurance, (b)Don't pay the fee and take your chances (c)Don't pay the fee and pay through the nose if you actually get hit.

Re:You're kidding, right? (1)

Will2k_is_here (675262) | more than 3 years ago | (#33809034)

What about the danger to the fire fighters?

You'd suggest if I refuse to pay for car insurance, Geico should pay me for a new car after I smash mine up because I begged them to.

The article didn't seem to indicate there was any risk to life here, just property. But IF there were people trapped inside, I would suggest accepting the risk to save a life and billing him after the fact much like a call for an ambulance would.

Re:You're kidding, right? (1)

kalirion (728907) | more than 3 years ago | (#33809060)

No, they should've made him sign an agreement to pay the true cost of showing up and putting out the fire.

No, that's not it at all (5, Insightful)

Space cowboy (13680) | more than 3 years ago | (#33808788)

They turned up to stop the spread of the fire to a neighbouring property, then they stood and watched as the house burnt to the ground, killing the animals inside. The guy forgot to pay $75, offered to make good on it, and they refused, they just watched his house, his life's possessions, and his pets burn alive.

I don't care who you are, that's callous beyond anything I wish to respect.

Simon

Re:No, that's not it at all (1, Interesting)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 3 years ago | (#33808896)

The real problem is why this is a voluntary fee? You can point the finger at the fire department, you can point it at the home owner. But the reality is that the system forced this type of situation.

When you see this type of conflict, you canalmost always trace the problem to the next level up in "management". if management sets up a situation where an entity has two conflicting priorities, then you should look up a level to see who created the mess.

Re:No, that's not it at all (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33809062)

The county he lives in does not have a fire department. A nearby city does. The city FD (which is funded by the tax base of the city only, not the county at large) allows county residents to pay the $75 for them to cover them as well, but since they don't live in the city itself, the city can't compel them to pay. And the county apparently isn't willing or able to fund their own FD out of the county tax base.

Re:No, that's not it at all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33808938)

If by "forgot" you mean "willfully decided not to pay" then yeah, he "forgot". Reap what you sow.

Re:No, that's not it at all (5, Informative)

anUnhandledException (1900222) | more than 3 years ago | (#33808946)

He didn't forget to pay. He chose not to pay. He received a bill and then a phone call and was advised his home would not be protected if he didn't pay.

No different then letting your life insurance policy lapse, then you die, and your spouse tries to collect $1 mil by paying this months premium.

Re:No, that's not it at all (4, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#33808994)

I don't care who you are, that's callous beyond anything I wish to respect.

How long do you think there would be firefighters to call if you could just pay $75 when you have to call them out because your house is on fire? That's like crashing your car into a Ferrari and _then_ offering to pay $100 for insurance because you 'forgot' to pay the premium beforehand.

If that behaviour became the norm then no-one would pay and the next time someone's house caught fire the whole area would burn down.

Re:Well Duh (1)

Bobfrankly1 (1043848) | more than 3 years ago | (#33808852)

If your county is too poor to pay for their own fire department, they should be paying that nearest municipality. The guy is paying taxes, where is that money going?

Re:Well Duh (2, Informative)

GooberToo (74388) | more than 3 years ago | (#33808912)

In small towns, the taxes may barely be enough to pay for utilities, police, and roads. Some towns don't even have their own fire department and must pay fees to neighboring cities.

Re:Well Duh (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33809076)

This is fucking incomprehensible to me. What is the military budget of your country? Hundreds of billions. Here's a crazy idea: maybe take a few percent out of that and use it on BASIC FUCKING AMENETIES!! The ignorance and sociopathic insanity of it all are staggering.

What a fucked up place. Just long-sighted enough to allow terrible things to happen for the greater good, yet short-sighted enough never to fix the systemic problems that cause them to be necessary. Disgusting and pathetic.

Counterpoint (3, Insightful)

Pollux (102520) | more than 3 years ago | (#33809042)

If your county is too poor to pay for a fire department, you may have a volunteer fire department, or the nearest municipality may charge a fee to cover service. If you don't pay that fee, you don't get fire protection.

But in the interest of public good, a fire that's allowed to burn out-of-control at one home could spread to another home, or to a forest, extending the initial threat from a single private residence to the general welfare of the public. If I were this man's neighbor, and the fire that the fire department let burn suddenly engulfed my house as well, I would be quite the irate citizen.

There is public good in not permitting a fire from growing, regardless of whether or not someone payed their municipal fees. As such, fire protection should be a public service guaranteed to all citizens, funded through taxes, rather than be an optional insurance paid for at the individual level. We realized long ago that individual [wikipedia.org] and/or private firefighting services [wikipedia.org] were not in the best interests of the public.

Point (-1, Troll)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 3 years ago | (#33809124)

Jane, you ignorant slut.

Re:Well Duh (4, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#33809070)

Ironically, Tennessee is a state that steadfastly refuses to pass an income tax and in which any talk of raising taxes is met with crazy uproar. They had an actual riot back in 2001 when the state tried to introduce an small income tax.

This same guy who complained that the firefighters didn't save his house would probably be the first in line to scream like a girl if anyone dared propose a tax increase to pay for a fire station.

Once again, there is no free lunch, rednecks. If you want something, the money has to come from somewhere. If you want the government "off your back" then fine, but be prepared to fight your own damn fire.

Re:Well Duh (1)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 3 years ago | (#33809140)

A lot of people are whinging about this.

Look at it this way - let's say out of the goodness of their hearts, the firemen fight the fire. Oops! One got hurt or killed. Will the insurer (who bases his premiums certainly on the number of houses covered) pay for the injury/death? NOPE.

Look at it another: what if they're fighting this guy's fire and someone (who HAS paid) also has a fire? Whups, I'd expect the assive, slam-dunk lawsuit in about 0.0001 seconds.

Many of the articles state that the homeowner claims he 'forgot' to pay the $75. Really? Did he have a consistent history of paying it in previous years? It's ironic that this isn't mentioned, as far as I've seen.

If you think this seems 'heartless', you simply need to grow up. There are a finite amount of resources in the world, and a fire service costs MONEY to train / equip. As per the comment above - what if one of my fire guys gets injured and insurance won't pay because essentially we were doing work outside of what was covered? What if I spend the time fighting this doofus' fire, and someone else's house burns down that HAD paid?

It's very easy to be oh-so-touchy-feely if you aren't responsible for things. Basically this is one of the major things wrong I see with society today - stupid short-sighted decisions can have radically BAD consequences, but we (as a society) have decided that we have an obligation to protect people from the consequences of their decisions. I don't understand why.

Gambling with your home is a bad bet (4, Insightful)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 3 years ago | (#33808706)

You have to pay your taxes if you want municipal services. If you wave it away claiming you don't want government interference in your life, then the firefighters will not interfere with fire burning down your house. The guy sadly got exactly what he argued for in the first place when he turned the city down.

Re:Gambling with your home is a bad bet (2, Insightful)

Godai (104143) | more than 3 years ago | (#33809130)

Well, if you RTFA, you'd hear that he didn't not pay his taxes, he forgot to pay an annual fee. He didn't say anything about not wanting "government interference". Granted, he might be lying, but either way this seems like a pretty stupid thing to let happen. Over $75 you let a house burn down that does how many tens (hundreds?) of thousands of dollars in damage? He's got insurance too, which kind of supports the idea that he wasn't trying to weasel out of paying for anything (if he's willing to pay insurance premiums, presumably he can afford an annual fee of $75) -- and the insurance is going to fork out a fair bit of money too. The net gain for everyone on this is probably minus$100k. Thank God they stuck it to him for the $75.

The bottom though is that this just demonstrates how stupid is it to have 'opt-out' on these kinds of things. What if his wife or son had been trapped inside? Would people still say the firefighters were right to stand around and watch them burn to death? The county has options on the table that include things like adding $3 a month to the electric bill (note that's less than $75 a year!) -- though I was unclear on whether it was on everyone in the county or just on the people outside the city limits (those are the only people required to pay this fee). At any rate, some things should just be part of your taxes and you should be able to expect them; having firefighters or cops or EMTs checking a list to decide who should get help is not only stupid & inhuman, and its downright counter-productive. I suspect most of the firefighters on the scene would agree with that (it sounds like several of them went home and were physically sick from having to refrain from helping).

socialism (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33808718)

This is what happens when you don't have socialism.

Re:socialism (-1, Troll)

Will2k_is_here (675262) | more than 3 years ago | (#33809072)

This is still socialism in action. Where's the competing fire department?

Re:socialism (-1, Troll)

inthealpine (1337881) | more than 3 years ago | (#33809114)

With socialism all your money belongs to the state and the fire department wont put out the fire unless you bribe them too. Yeah, that sounds better.

--->Answer:
If you don't pay the $75 fee then you sign an agreement that you will be billed the "actual cost" itemized for your convenience. There we go. We put out the fire, put the cost on the 'consumer' choosing to 'buy' the service AND we didn't even have to enact the most corrupt, deadly, failed model of a government to do it!
--->Next

This happened to me once! (2, Insightful)

Idimmu Xul (204345) | more than 3 years ago | (#33808720)

This one time I didn't have contents insurance and got robbed and all the insurance companies stood around doing nothing because I didn't have a policy with any of them!

Re:This happened to me once! (1)

SoTerrified (660807) | more than 3 years ago | (#33808908)

This one time I didn't have contents insurance and got robbed and all the insurance companies stood around doing nothing because I didn't have a policy with any of them!

What? And when you said "I'll happily buy your policy now", I bet the evil insurance company didn't even allow you to do that.

I'm firmly in the camp that, the guy didn't pay the $75 fee, he's responsible for his own fire prevention. *shrug*.

well maybe (1)

yourlord (473099) | more than 3 years ago | (#33808730)

he'll learn to pay the fee once they haul in his next doublewide.

His neighbor had paid the fee so the fire department came out and hosed down the neighbor's house to make sure it didn't spread to it.

Re:well maybe (1)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 3 years ago | (#33808922)

Remember to pay your crime insurance. Otherwise the next time a bandit stabs you with a knife, the Police will arrive and just look out so that no paying citizen gets stabbed, while you bleed to death.

You don't pay your premiums... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33808744)

...you don't have coverage. What's so hard to understand about that?

And yes, paying your fees for fire service is, essentially, an insurance premium.

Summary is retarded (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33808746)

The summary conveniently omits the fact that the firefighters DID respond - they showed up and WATCHED THE HOUSE BURN. Even better, when the fire started to move into a neighbor's yard they put *that* part out. Welcome to everywhere in the US circa 2020 if the teabaggers have their way.

Uh.. (1, Insightful)

iONiUM (530420) | more than 3 years ago | (#33808752)

I realize they were in their "rights" legally and such to put out the neighbours fire and not his.. (from the TFA, they just sat there and made sure it didn't spread). But I mean, as a human, what the fuck. Is there so little empathy?

Why couldn't they have put it out and then billed him? He probably would have been so happy he would have paid it. This reeks of callousness. What have "we" become (I'm not american, but I am a human, I think..)

Re:Uh.. (2, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 3 years ago | (#33808916)

As decent human beings, I would imagine that many of the firefighters wanted to help the guy out. On the other hand, what kind of precedent does that set? Don't pay and your house is on fire? Well, I guess we'll help out this time. What incentive would there be for anyone to pay the fee if they all knew that the fire department would come and help them out anyway? No... as much as it pains me to say it, the fire department made the right choice, if they had done anything else the whole system would fall apart. Maybe that would have been a good thing, but I don't see that it is the firefighters job to make that decision.

Re:Uh.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33808968)

Because then everyone would do that. And you cannot have the equipment ready and the staff on hand and trained in the hopes that occasionally someone will pay you $75. What about the empathy the homeowner could have had in paying $75 so the community could benefit without knowing for sure if he'd need the service himself?

Re:Uh.. (1)

anUnhandledException (1900222) | more than 3 years ago | (#33809016)

If one could get after the fact coverage by just paying $75 when their house IS ON FIRE..... why would ANYONE. I mean ANYONE pay $75 before hand.

Simply don't pay. If you house doesn't catch fire... cool you saved $75. If it does then you just pay $75.

I mean it would be like not having health insurance, having a heart attack, getting $50K in bills. Then you call up insurance company and say. I will get insurance. I'll pay $400 premium for last month and you retroactively cover my $50K in expenses.

The insurance company would laugh you off the phone.

The guy is an idiot. He took a risk. Had it worked out over his life he would have saved a couple grand.

Re:Uh.. (4, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#33809120)

NO, you bill them for the cost, not the missed payment. The entire cost. which I believe is about 7500 dollars.

You've never lived in a redneck area (1)

SlappyBastard (961143) | more than 3 years ago | (#33809050)

The problem with sending a bill to a redneck is they will never pay it.

This is America (1, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 3 years ago | (#33808760)

This is what has happened in America. If you don't pay, if you can't pay, you will not get services. We have turned into the Randian utopia of rugged individualists who have given up on treating each other as human beings.

We treat each other like consumers.

It's sad, and it's one of the things I had hoped the Obama era would overcome. Unfortunately, it seems like the problem has only been exacerbated.

Re:This is America (5, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 3 years ago | (#33808858)

Dude, it's the state, not the country. Don't blame fricking Obama for the problems of Fulton County Tennesee's rural fire department! That's just absurd.

In most other states, there'd be a state income tax, or a hefty county tax, or a sales tax or something to support fire coverage for all the citizens in the county. They didn't want that there, so there is a fee. And if you don't pay it, you're screwed. And it's their own bed to lie in.

Re:This is America (1)

Rhaban (987410) | more than 3 years ago | (#33808926)

In most other states, there'd be a state income tax, or a hefty county tax, or a sales tax or something to support fire coverage for all the citizens in the county.

But... but... but... that's COMMUNISM!

Re:This is America (1)

anUnhandledException (1900222) | more than 3 years ago | (#33809044)

He could afford to pay for a home but not $75 to insure it? Really?

Another win (4, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#33808768)

for libertarians everywhere.

Same with OnStar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33808770)

Same thing with OnStar. I got rid of their service since I didn't want it. A few years later I got in an accident (hit a deer and air bag deployed) and I was curious if they'd still call me. They did not. I didn't expect them to since I didn't pay for their service. If they were required to, then they'd go out of business since everyone would just cancel their subscriptions. I can see the firefighters being required to (fee or no fee) if someone's live is in danger but not to save some things.

This is what taxes are for (1)

onyxruby (118189) | more than 3 years ago | (#33808776)

This is the kind of thing taxes are for - essential public services. The fact that the home burned to the ground was a travesty, but not so great as the lack of funding for the fire department in the first place. All that being said, charging residents $75 just in case is absurd. His county should pay his losses and fix their tax situation!

Re:This is what taxes are for (5, Insightful)

Idimmu Xul (204345) | more than 3 years ago | (#33808820)

This is the kind of thing taxes are for - essential public services. The fact that the home burned to the ground was a travesty, but not so great as the lack of funding for the fire department in the first place. All that being said, charging residents $75 just in case is absurd. His county should pay his losses and fix their tax situation!

A publicly funded fire brigade? What's next? Public healthcare? You dirty socialist!

Re:This is what taxes are for (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33808894)

No they shouldn't. This situation is not that uncommon for very rural areas. You pay a yearly fee to help keep them going, you know, a TAX. It's $75 a year, not that much of a hit. Considering what you will loose without it, it's a drop in the ocean.

People need to learn to take responsibility for their own situations, not depend on everyone to fix their problems no matter what.

Re:This is what taxes are for (2, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 3 years ago | (#33808906)

I absolutely disagree with the idea that the state should have to pay for this joker's bad decisions. That's money out of all of our pockets because he can't make a rational choice.

Forcing everyone to pay for fire coverage (via taxes) is fine. But that doesn't mean that we owe some joker in some county that didn't feel the need.

Re:This is what taxes are for (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 3 years ago | (#33808932)

I agree this is what taxes are for. And the county had the opportunity to approve a tax. Doing this would either require a vote by the population or a vote by elected officials. Either way, the people responsible is not the county but the people that voted for 'no new taxes'. You certainly should NOT force the county to pay and fix the loss. This is exactly what the people of his county voted to do and they did it on purpose.

Violation (1)

JustOK (667959) | more than 3 years ago | (#33808786)

"Don't be a dick" might have been a valid argument in this case.

America (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33808790)

lol america

Who cares (1, Offtopic)

Drakin020 (980931) | more than 3 years ago | (#33808838)

Seriously this is stuff that does not belong on the front page of a technology website.

Re:Who cares (1)

godrik (1287354) | more than 3 years ago | (#33809020)

Since you are a registered user of slashdot, you can filter what you want or do not want to read. This story was in idle. It often contains stuff that don't matter.

Libertarian Paradise (4, Insightful)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 3 years ago | (#33808856)

Nuff sed.

Re:Libertarian Paradise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33809134)

It is a libertarian Paradise. And I love it. Don't make people pay for services and they soon figure out which services they really need. Am sure their neighbors will be paying their fees from now on.
Honey, you think we should pay the fee?
Well, remember what happen to uncle Clarks house?
Oh, yeah. I'll send the check.

Though I have to question the wisdom of letting people burn general house hold trash. That's just asking for all sorts of pollution. Most people aren't aware of the dangers of pressure treated wood when burned.

Government In Action (1)

Mr. Foogle (253554) | more than 3 years ago | (#33808862)

And ... everyone will see this as an obvious flaw in libertarianism.

Except these guys worked for the government.

Re:Government In Action (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 3 years ago | (#33809142)

Uh, no. this is the perfect example of why libertarianism is mentally bankrupt. Firefighting is a perfect example of a shared good where the public MUST be taxed to ensure fair and equal access. Instead, libertarianism wants to privatize everything.

Libertarianism works for those who already have money and would only serve to collect more and more wealth in the hands of fewer and fewer.

What about the neighbor? (1)

nicedream (4923) | more than 3 years ago | (#33808872)

He *did* pay his $75 fee, but they didn't do anything until the fire had actually spread to his house. I'd be pissed if I were him. They wouldn't do anything to *prevent* his house from catching fire in the first place? It doesn't take a genius to figure out that uncontrolled fires usually spread.

Re:What about the neighbor? (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 3 years ago | (#33809054)

According to last night's Countdown, they hosed down the fenceline, which would prevent the spread of the fire, but not the house.

Why not just bill him? (0, Redundant)

mark-t (151149) | more than 3 years ago | (#33808876)

Okay... so he didn't pay the money right then and there. What's the problem? If he doesn't pay it by a certain date, they can tack it onto his property taxes (plus interest), which if he doesn't pay, he loses his home. Seems simple. Actively *choosing* to not respond to a situation such as this, that was well within their ability to attend to, *REGARDLESS* of whether or not they were getting paid properly for it shows an absolutely horrifying level of poor ethical values among those firefighters, IMO.

Re:Why not just bill him? (1)

Idimmu Xul (204345) | more than 3 years ago | (#33809022)

He gambled that his house wouldn't catch fire in order to save $75, he lost.

If you're ever in charge of a casino or lottery, please give me a bell because I swear I would have bought those numbers I just wanted to wait until the results came in ...

Re:Why not just bill him? (1)

SoTerrified (660807) | more than 3 years ago | (#33809048)

Okay... so he didn't pay the money right then and there. What's the problem?

I didn't buy car insurance, but yesterday I totaled my car. So I walked into the insurance company, offering to pay the money right there and then. And they turned me down. I tried to say "Hey, this makes perfect sense to mark-t!" but for some reason, they still thought I was an absolute idiot. They explained to me how insurance works, how the cost is distributed among many because the assumption is that most people won't need the service. If they let you buy it after you need the service, they would need to charge me an amount equal to what I would be receiving. Well, more actually, because the company has overhead. So they just shook their heads, said to tell mark-t that he lives in some fantasy world and that any business who did what mark-t suggests would soon be bankrupt.

yup (4, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | more than 3 years ago | (#33808890)

In case any of you are wondering, this is exactly the reason why a lot of us detest libertarianism, and refuse to vote for Ron Paul not because they think he can't win but because they think he would ruin this country.

Re:yup (2, Insightful)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 3 years ago | (#33809058)

You need to believe more than you just read on the internet about what some guy told you these other guys believe.

just plainly wrong (0)

hypergreatthing (254983) | more than 3 years ago | (#33808918)

Volunteer fire department not doing their jobs because someone didn't pay for their booze bill. He should sue every single one of them for negligence. Not only that, but this "fee" they were trying to get probably isn't widely known as something you need to pay to get service.

Re:just plainly wrong (1)

Sprouticus (1503545) | more than 3 years ago | (#33809094)

Does this mean you dont mind paying the entire fire department tax bill for your city? Because if you allow people to not pay for the service, yet use it when needed, that is what you will get. No one will pay for the service, and everyone will use it.

This guy got what he deserved.

I do think it would have been nice to offer him a one time service for say $10k though.

Sue them blind (0)

spywhere (824072) | more than 3 years ago | (#33808920)

I hope this guy sues everyone and everything that moves. Any decent lawyer would take this case on contingency.

service payment (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 3 years ago | (#33808956)

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

- sounds like they are not paying taxes then, so they must buy the service. If they don't pay for the service, it's not provided.

Nothing to see here.

The roof, (3, Funny)

craash420 (884493) | more than 3 years ago | (#33808972)

the roof, the roof is on fire.

I wonder if they have ever read this... (0, Offtopic)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#33808990)

Yea I know bible stuff doesn't go over well here but I do wonder if this will be what is taught in the churches of that county this Sunday.
Just wondering if how many will people will like being goats?

  "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

  "Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

  "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

  "Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'

"They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'

  "He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'

What is next a cop fee and if you don't pay rape (5, Insightful)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#33808992)

What is next a cop fee and if you don't pay the cops will just stand there as you get raped as you did not pay the fee?

fireman and cops should be payed for with taxes!

also will the fireman pass up a burning car as they don't know if the people in the car payed?

This what the republic want for health care but with health care buying on your own can cost $1000+ month with a big list of stuff not coved and if you are sick then it can be hard to get it at all. Some job only have that min med that cost about $700+ year + copays with $2000 MAX YEAR PAY OUT AND that is joke care.

A Libertarian World (4, Insightful)

goodmanj (234846) | more than 3 years ago | (#33809002)

There's a lot of libertarians here on Slashdot. Well, this is what a libertarian utopia looks like, kids. If this strikes you as unjust and cruel, you'd probably better stop listening to Glen Beck on the teevee, and start voting for candidates who believe that government is a useful thing.

(If, on the other hand, you're happy with the outcome of this story, that's cool, you're not a hypocrite, and, we can agree to disagree.)

As for "why not put out the fire and then bill him", the $75 fee is not to put out the fire, it's to keep the fire department running when there *isn't* a fire. You can no more pay the bill after you need the service than you can wait until after you get cancer to start paying for medical insurance. The system can't work that way.

This is why Libertarians are morally bankrupt (3, Insightful)

pnuema (523776) | more than 3 years ago | (#33809008)

Your political philosophy does not work. At one time, all fire departments operated under these terms; there were no municipally supported fire companies. You know what the number one cause of fires was during those times? Fire departments. Give me some good old fashioned socialism any day. Libertarian philosophy - or as I like to call it, "Fuck you, I've got mine", has already been tried. We rejected feudalism hundreds of years ago. Why go backwards?

[Shrug] Market forces at work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33809026)

It's not like a socialist fire department would do any better.

Won't anyone think of the animals? (4, Interesting)

oh-dark-thirty (1648133) | more than 3 years ago | (#33809028)

Animal cruelty charges should be brought, they allowed 4 pets to die...frankly I would be more pissed about that than losing my stuff.

Pay attention Slashdot (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 3 years ago | (#33809038)

To all those who've argued that this doesn't exist, observe - it does. The next time we lock horns in a healthcare or other societal need debate and you say 'do you have to pay for fire protection', DO NOT disagree when I say 'yes, you always do'. Either you pay a fee, or you pay it in taxes up front. In this district, the homeowners are free to decide whether to pay for fire protection or not. Vis-a-vis healthcare, IMO.

Not the point though. Just please pay attention that it can and does exist, by design.

Really? (1)

vanDee28 (1198791) | more than 3 years ago | (#33809074)

I mean, Really?

Compromise (1)

somaTh (1154199) | more than 3 years ago | (#33809104)

Why not just let the dude pay the back fees (up to 5 years worth)? $4500 is adequate punishment for not paying and the dude would still have his house. Even better, just make him sign up for the coverage and if he breaks it in 5 years, make him pay the fee.

opens the door for extortion look people who did n (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33809112)

opens the door for extortion look people who did not pay and then have some set there house of fire and they have the fireman come out and bill you X100 the fee.

Details yall are missing (1)

alta (1263) | more than 3 years ago | (#33809128)

This person lived outside of the city fire jurisdiction. The had been petitioned by the people in the county to extend their coverage, but since those people didn't want to incorporate as part OF the city, the city offered to agree to put out fires for people who wanted to pay the $75 fee. So, this is a service the city is doing for those that pay for it.

For those of you that say "Why didn't they put it out when the guy pleaded to pay the $75?" Sorry, that's SOP. If they agreed to this EVERYONE would fail to pay the $75/year and they'd just offer to pay after the fire dept came. You have to realize that it costs a lot more than $75 to pay for FD services. The $75 is effectively an insurance, $75 alone doesn't come anywhere NEAR the cost of putting out a single fire.

Animal Rights count, too... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33809132)

If that happened in the UK, the fire brigade would be facing charges of negligence, and the RSPCA would be taking legal action against them for knowingly and willingly causing harm to animals.

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