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Firefighters Watch House Burn Over $75 Four Pets Killed in Fire

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by hearit

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In The News

Tennessee state firefighters prove that the longstanding rumor is in fact true—allowing a home to burn entirely to the ground after service fees had not been paid in advance of an emergency fire. Four pets, including three dogs and a cat, were additionally killed in the September 29 blaze, with all family possessions lost--solely because the home’s owner had not paid a $75 fire service fee.

"They [the pets killed by the fire] could have been saved if they [firefighters] had put water on it [the blaze], but they didn't do it," homeowner Gene Cranick told media.

The blaze began when the family’s grandson was burning trash nearby, in close proximity to the home. As the fire became uncontrollable, the family phoned 911 emergency--but the nearby South Fulton fire department refused to respond.

"We wasn't on their list," of paid services for firefighting, Cranick says.

For whatever reason, the owner forgot or neglected to pay the $75 fire department services fee—a service offered by South Fulton in place of county-wide services that are not available. The home’s owner says he told the operator that he was willingto pay whatever necessary to have the fire put out, but his offer was refused.

The fire fee policy, instituted about two decades ago, requires advancement payment. "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," is the statement issued by South Fulton Mayor David Crocker.

The mayor’s perspective isn’t shared by all: South Fulton fire department's decision to let the house burn up in flames was "incredibly irresponsible," says one president of an association representing firefighters. "Professional, career firefighters shouldn’t be forced to check a list before running out the door to see which homeowners have paid up," says Harold Schatisberger, International Association of Fire Fighters president, "They get in their trucks and go."

Firefighters did eventually show up to the scene—but not to the Cranick residence: South Fulton fire department arrived to fight the fire of a next door neighbor, whose owner had paid the emergency firefighting fee. "“I thought they’d come out and put it out, even if you didn’t pay the bill, but I was wrong," says homeowner Cranick.

"They [South Fulton Fire Department] put water out on the fence line out here [between the houses]. They [firefighters] never said nothing to me. Never acknowledged. They stood out here and watched it [the home] burn," Cranick has told the media.

South Fulton's mayor has issued statement that the city fire department cannot allow homeowners pay the fee on the spot or during emergency of an actual fire, essentially because people would then only pay when their homes are actually on fire.

Worsening the situation, police from the same city of South Fulton separately arrested one of Cranick's sons, Timothy Allen Cranick, whom is now being charged with aggravated assault. Police claim the family’s son attacked South Fulton Fire Chief David Wilds, at the firehouse, after becoming upset that his father’s house was allowed to burn to the ground.

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