Tag Archives: Obion County Tennessee

Pay the Piper- Or Lose it All

I find the behavior of a fire department that just stands by and watches utterly offensive and inhuman.  They let the family lose everything they have for a paltry $75.  Maybe they didn’t have a spare $75.  Is that just cause to watch them lose everything?  Sick.  Really sick and infuriating.

A Tennessee couple helplessly watched their home burn to the ground, along with all of their possessions,because they did not pay a $75 annual fee to the local fire department.

Vicky Bell told the NBC affiliate WPSD-TV that she called 911 when her mobile home in Obion County caught fire. Firefighters arrived on the scene but as the fire raged, they simply stood by and did nothing. “In an emergency, the first thing you think of, ‘Call 9-1-1,” homeowner Bell said. However, Bell and her husband were forced to walk into the burning home in an attempt to retrieve their own belongings. “You could look out my mom’s trailer and see the trucks sitting at a distance,” Bell said. “We just wished we could’ve gotten more out.”

Time Magazine: Should Tennessee Firemen Have Let the House Burn?

Tennessee state welcome sign

But You Better Not Forget to Pay Your Fire Fee in Obion County... Or you'll be really sorry!

Well, Time, I’ll give you the short answer:  NO!  That we’re even asking the question or debating the topic only shows one thing- people by and large care more about money than anything else.  It’s greed that drives the behavior of a fire department that watches a house burn down when they can do something to stop it but won’t because a little fee hasn’t been paid.  The guy forgot.  We all forget things.  And he paid for it dearly.

Frankly, what they did out in West Tennessee strikes me as terribly immoral.  Were I a resident there, I would be screaming bloody murder.

But the Time essay is interested in more than just that basic question.

What is more striking than the story itself is the debate it has set off, which has been raging now for more than a week. While the firefighters have come in for considerable criticism, a surprising number of commentators have come to their defense – and lashed out at the family that lost their home. (See pictures of crime in Middle America.) Yet underlying the Tennessee fire debate is something much more serious and fundamental than the the back-and-forth, talking head battles about who was more at fault in this incident. At a time when lots of Americans are debating who should have citizenship, the case of Gene and Paulette Cranicks’ burnt-down house hints at the more profound issue of what that citizenship should mean.

Do read the whole.