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Author Topic: Fire department let house burn to the ground.  (Read 2684 times)
AllenF
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« on: October 05, 2010, 08:53:08 PM »

Did ya'll see on Yahoo.   http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_upshot/20101005/pl_yblog_upshot/rural-tennessee-fire-sparks-conservative-ideological-debate


Here's the short version of what happened: In rural Obion County, homeowners must pay $75 annually for fire protection services from the nearby city of South Fulton. If they don't pay the fee and their home catches fire, tough luck -- even if firefighters are positioned just outside the home with hoses at the ready.

Gene Cranick found this out the hard way.

When Cranick's house caught fire last week, and he couldn't contain the blaze with garden hoses, he called 911. During the emergency call, he offered to pay all expenses related to the Fire Department's defense of his home, but the South Fulton firefighters refused to do anything.

They did, however, come out when Cranick's neighbor -- who'd already paid the fee -- called 911 because he worried that the fire might spread to his property. Once they arrived, members of the South Fulton department stood by and watched Cranick's home burn; they sprang into action only when the fire reached the neighbor's property.

"I hadn't paid my $75 and that's what they want, $75, and they don't care how much it burned down," Gene Cranick told WPSD, an NBC affiliate in Kentucky. "I thought they'd come out and put it out, even if you hadn't paid your $75, but I was wrong."

The incident has sparked a debate in many corners of the Web. Writers for the National Review, arguably the nation's most influential right-leaning voice, have seized on the episode to discuss the relative merits of compassionate conservatism versus a hard-line libertarianism. (See their arguments here, here, here, here  and here.)

Daniel Foster, a self-described "conservative with fairly libertarian leanings" who writes for the magazine, took issue with the county's  laissez-faire approach to firefighting, calling it "a kind of government for which I would not sign up."

"What moral theory allows these firefighters (admittedly acting under orders) to watch this house burn to the ground when 1) they have already responded to the scene; 2) they have the means to stop it ready at hand; 3) they have a reasonable expectation to be compensated for their trouble?" Foster wrote.


But Foster's colleague Kevin Williamson took the opposite view. Cranick's fellow residents in the rural stretches of Obion County had no fire protection until the county established the $75 fee in 1990. As Williamson explained: "The South Fulton fire department is being treated as though it has done something wrong, rather than having gone out of its way to make services available to people who did not have them before. The world is full of jerks, freeloaders, and ingrates — and the problems they create for themselves are their own. These free-riders have no more right to South Fulton's firefighting services than people in Muleshoe, Texas, have to those of NYPD detectives."

Liberals are pouncing on the Cranick fire as an illustration of what they take to be the callous indifference of a market regime that rewards privileged interests over the concerns of ordinary Americans.


What do ya'll think about firefighters only putting out your house if you paid for it?
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kathyp
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« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2010, 09:14:26 PM »

if i forget to pay my home owners insurance, or car insurance, i can't offer to pay after the house burns or i wreck the car.  he was offered a service and for whatever reason (forgot to pay) he  did not sign on to the service.  seems pretty simple.

they could have been nice and put out the fire, but i don't see that they were under any obligation to do it....moral or legal.
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

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Jim 134
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« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2010, 09:25:27 PM »

Hope he did't forget to pay the home owners insurance.


    BEE HAPPY Jim 134 Smiley
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« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2010, 10:31:51 PM »

I hope that fire department did not ever take tax money or other funding from the federal, state, or local community. If they did, they should be sued.

I also think the fire department has the obligation to put the fire out. Protection of the public and human life comes first. Make the law state that if a homeowner does not pay the 75 ahead of time, that they must pay 5,000 after the fact. They could seize the insurance, put a lien on the property, etc.

Seems to me this is something that is wrong in the process.

Fire protection and services should not be the one item that the public finally puts it's foot down in regards to slackers, etc.

Put the fire out, then make the homeowner pay. The process and court system is already established in doing that. If he does not pay taxes, that is what happens anyway.
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« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2010, 10:34:17 PM »

I wonder how this plays out if any taxpayer money was accepted by said fire department. Especially federal funds?You know,some of the grants and antiterrorism money that helped pay for a lot of the equipment?
  If the fire department accepted any public money,are they then obligated to put out a fire at a "taxpayers" home?
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« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2010, 10:35:53 PM »

Hmm,Seems Bjorn and I were thinking along the same line here.
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hardwood
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« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2010, 10:37:09 PM »

If they stood around and watched my house burn they wouldn't be standing for long. Once the flames hit my ammo cache they'd be steppin' and fetchin' for sure!

Scott
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"In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American...There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag...We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language...And we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."

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« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2010, 11:01:40 PM »

 I am curious when fire departments went from volunteer to for-profit.

I know that many fire depts start as volunteer fire dept's and they, the volunteers, would rush off to help, no matter what.  Now that money is involved, apparently they need a check before they can do what they used to do for free.

I don't disagree that if you expect service like police and fire, that's what one's taxes should be used for.  if he's not paying taxes or paying into the services somehow, I think the idea of billing afterwards for services rendered is entirely appropriate.

but, firefighters watching a house burn for $75?  That's a bit on the ridiculous side  I think.

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vmmartin
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« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2010, 11:17:08 PM »

I'm almost scared to ask how their ambulance service operates.  Maybe the paramedics carry credit card scanners and bill your card prior to giving you CPR.
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kathyp
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« Reply #9 on: October 06, 2010, 12:50:43 AM »

the story is that he live outside the area that supports the fire department.  the service was offered to those outside if they paid.  before that, they had no fire service.  they would not have responded before, they respond now to those who chose to pay.  yes, they could have put the fire out, but were they obliged to for someone had a service offered and chose not to pay?  i think not. it would have been better PR if they had, and what do you want to be that there will be some new regulation out of this.....after all, every occasion calls for at least  one new regulation.
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
bigbearomaha
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« Reply #10 on: October 06, 2010, 07:21:38 AM »

I don't mind the fact that someone might take it upon themselves to move to a place they knowingly have no services such as those.  That's a choice some folks make.

Apparently, he isn't so rural as to be out of reasonable service distance. Also,  I know a lot of cities and towns that pay extra on services and taxes so that rural folk can have those services, like phone service.  The bill has been paid for.

The story also said that the guy called 911 and told them he would be willing to pay their costs out of pocket for service.  They still refused.  This is where it looks like he was being "punished" for not buying into their payment plan.

Like the other folks have mentioned, If that fire dept has received tax money from the larger area such s county, state or federal, they are obligated to respond.

They were close enough to the rural area to respond to the neighbor. 

This is why I defy the label of just being "conservative" or anything like that.  In the case of emergency services, those are humanitarian services.  They have been traditionally set up as volunteer services for hundreds of years to respond to any and all emergencies where they could get to them.

This isn't the same as not having any restaurants in the area to deliver a pizza or a house maintenance service or a tow truck service nearby.

We're talking fire service and they are obviously close enough to respond.

Sorry, this sounds political to me and a man who offered to pay for fire service was refused on the basis of not buying in to a payment plan. 

Ridiculous.

Big Bear
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hardwood
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« Reply #11 on: October 06, 2010, 07:49:46 AM »

Is it just me or does this sound a lot like buying "protection" from the mob?

Scott
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"In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American...There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag...We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language...And we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."

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« Reply #12 on: October 06, 2010, 07:56:29 AM »

what hardwood said in #11 is exactly what I was thinking.
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« Reply #13 on: October 06, 2010, 08:14:51 AM »

That happened years ago around here when rural/metro came to town, they would let houses burn down while they just stood around and watched. If you are not a member now they will put the fire out and bill you, last I heard it was like $800 per hour plus expenses. They really are a joke to me and we have crossed paths several times. A couple of the firemen were caught trying to set fire to the public library and they were suspected of setting some houses on fire. I live right on the county line (it goes through our farm) and Knox county has very strict rules for burning a brush pile while Loudon county could care less as long as you call the forestry department for a permit, have gotten into some good arguements with them over where they though the county line was at.
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« Reply #14 on: October 06, 2010, 08:18:13 AM »

Fire service costs money, just as water and power and insurance do. If you don't pay up front, they can't buy the equipment they need. Saying you'll pay for it after the fact is ridiculous. (1) They don't have it in writing, so who knows if the homeowner can or will pay, (2) They don't have the ordinances in place to put a lien on the home, and most importantly, (3) If everyone pays after the fact, how do they finance the service in the first place? If one guy pays after the fact and gets away with it, many more will. Fire service is like an insurance, where the cost is spread across a large number of people. Putting a lien on homes that you serviced is expensive and probably defeats the purpose. By the time you pay all the lawyers, the cost is so high you may as well some of the homes burn. And it doesn't sound like this little fire department has any lawyers.

Fire protection is of huge value, but many people will take the risk rather than pay the small fee. I'll bet a lot of people ponied up their $75 after they found out what happened to this guy.

Ok, just looked up this story, and really the $75 shouldn't be an option. County needs to add this to their property tax. Firefighters shouldn't pick and choose who they save, nor take the time to find out if someone has paid their fee. This fire department let a cat and three dogs burn. Owner's son arrested after he went to the fire department and punched the fire chief. Ew. Great example of where regulations and taxes are needed to prevent such an experience.
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« Reply #15 on: October 06, 2010, 08:37:53 AM »

Righ or wrong, moral or immoral you better believe that several $75 deliquent fees will be getting paid in the next few days.
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« Reply #16 on: October 06, 2010, 10:15:29 AM »

Well how about this........where I live there is only two ways in or out, one is through a very small rail road underpass and the other is over a bridge crossing the lake. With many new subdivisions around here rural/metro upgraded their fire trucks. A young boy had set his house on fire with a lighter and the fire trucks were dispatched to the scene, subdivision just on the other side of the underpass. They could not get the new fire truck through the underpass and had to go the other route which is about 12 miles around. By the time they arrived all that was saved was the slab and chimney.   
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« Reply #17 on: October 06, 2010, 10:25:58 AM »

Around here, NOBODY pays an upfront fee. The fire departments are fulltime and are part of the tax structure of the tax system, or they are volunteer that operates off the goodwill of the people with perhaps lots of federal money thrown their way from time to time. But everyone gets services.

I threw out the concept of charging after the fact as a possibility. I know several ambulance and police department (in California) that charge for calls. You call 911...and they respond...you get charged. NOBODY is screening 911 calls and suggesting that nobody should respond because someone did not pay an upfront fee. You don't pay the cops a fee up front and then find out they don't come if you don't pay. They come, then you pay. It is a system that more and more are using. Like it or not, it is happening. If fire, police or ambulance need to charge extra fees to the public for services rendered, then so be it.

I'll be laughing my butt off the first time someone mismanages the "respond to" list and a house burns that later is found to be one that DID pay up front. And lets hope nobody dies in the meantime.

Personally, I think of all the governments responsibilities to provide to the public, I think that police, fire and emergency medical services should be a priority. And not be relegated to maintaining lists of those that did or did not, could or could not, pay up front fees.

Around here, everyone's taxes go into public services. And I think any system based on maintaining lists of who will get help and who will not...is ridiculous!
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« Reply #18 on: October 06, 2010, 10:31:30 AM »

how in the heck is this a liberal vs conservative issue?  the only way i see it being one is if you agree that liberals always seem to think people should have/get what they have not paid for.  if that's your argument, i guess it's a liberal vs conservative issue.

fire and police are services that communities agree  they need and agree to pay for.  10 ft off the  back of my property is the town border.  my area has no police but is covered by the state police.  close as i am to the town line, town police will not respond if i call them.  i have to wait for the state police.  i am not paying taxes in that town and do not get their services.  i don't see this as any different.

i watched the woman interviewed.  they "hadn't gotten around to payin' it".  well, learned a lesson about paying for services didn't you?  bet you paid you homeowners insurance.  bet you paid your car insurance, electric bill, etc.  do you expect power to your house if you don't pay the bill?

it's not a political issue.  it's a stupid issue.  it's an expectation of getting something for nothing issue.
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
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« Reply #19 on: October 06, 2010, 10:38:12 AM »

How is this political?

Come now kathy...have you seen Obama's approval rating. The left leaning mainstream media and the leftists need something to get voters going besides their agenda and recent destruction of the country. And that whole "She is a witch" thing won't last forever.....  rolleyes

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