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  1. #1
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Default Firefighters let home burn down for lack of fee.

    There's a good chance you already heard the story.
    Why Firemen Let That House Burn Down

    You can also just Google firefighters and houses burning down and you'll see plenty more articles about it.

    It seems the small, rural incident has sparked wide debate about, well, something. Something so general in its scope that I can only call it a discussion of collective good and social contracts.

    My question is what you think of this incident? Opinions on it or lessons to extract from it?
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Blown Ghost's Avatar
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    What's the lesson here?

    It's okay to let hundreds of thousands of dollars be destroyed to prove a point over $75.

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    As I've mentioned before in another forum, this act doing nothing by the firefighters is disgusting. Why should it matter if the man had paid or not, hell, why is that the first factor firefighters take into account? Shouldn't their first priority be to put out the fire, then deal with financial matters?

  4. #4
    Don't Judge Me! Haphazard's Avatar
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    And this is why Iranians want us to be liberated from our oppressive regime.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    I wonder, assuming the family had the house insured, if the insurance company can refuse to pay for the loss of the house or if they will go after the fire department. It could be interesting.
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Chaotic Harmony's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Savage Brain View Post
    As I've mentioned before in another forum, this act doing nothing by the firefighters is disgusting. Why should it matter if the man had paid or not, hell, why is that the first factor firefighters take into account? Shouldn't their first priority be to put out the fire, then deal with financial matters?
    Exactly! If it was such a big damn deal to pay the fee... Put the fire out and then bill the guy for the actual cost it took to put the fire out in addition to the $75... It's still going to be cheaper for him than having to rebuild his entire home. Don't punish him by making him pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to rebuild his home and replace all of his belongings. Horrible.


  7. #7
    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    The thing is, people are up in arms about having to pay taxes and this is the kind of service that taxes are supposed to pay for. Apparently it was privatized in some way in that area, so having firefighters come out to dowse your burning house is no longer a right -- it's a privilege.

    I, personally, don't think it should be a privilege -- having my house dowsed is something I'm willing to pay for with taxes. However, if folks in an area decide that they don't want to do things that way, the people providing the service still need to be paid or if they are volunteers, their operating costs still need to be covered. It's hardly fair to refuse to pay then expect to receive the service.

    If the people in the area discover that firefighters will fight your fire whether or not you have paid the fee, then bill you retroactively if you actually use the service, I don't think too many of them are going to be paying the fee up front. That will mean either the firefighting operation will have to close down or or the rates will go way, way up.

    This incident will may cause people to either remember to pay their fee, decide that it's not a bad idea to pay taxes for something like that, or the firefighting service will be sued out of existence. Or maybe something I haven't thought of yet. Definitely going to be interesting.
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
    ~ John Rogers

  8. #8
    Senior Member Chaotic Harmony's Avatar
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    You know what wouldn't surprise me? If this guy still comes out ahead. It's been all over the news... I can see fundraisers and charities started to help this guy out. It wouldn't surprise me at all if he managed to raise the money to rebuild his house plus furnish it... Or Extreme Makeover will see the ratings potential and come rebuild for him... I'm not saying this is a bad thing for him, but like you said, it just makes other people see that if they don't pay they can get even better if something does happen. It'll be interesting to see how things unfold.


  9. #9
    Per Ardua Metamorphosis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cafe View Post
    The thing is, people are up in arms about having to pay taxes and this is the kind of service that taxes are supposed to pay for. Apparently it was privatized in some way in that area, so having firefighters come out to dowse your burning house is no longer a right -- it's a privilege.

    I, personally, don't think it should be a privilege -- having my house dowsed is something I'm willing to pay for with taxes. However, if folks in an area decide that they don't want to do things that way, the people providing the service still need to be paid or if they are volunteers, their operating costs still need to be covered. It's hardly fair to refuse to pay then expect to receive the service.

    If the people in the area discover that firefighters will fight your fire whether or not you have paid the fee, then bill you retroactively if you actually use the service, I don't think too many of them are going to be paying the fee up front. That will mean either the firefighting operation will have to close down or or the rates will go way, way up.

    This incident will may cause people to either remember to pay their fee, decide that it's not a bad idea to pay taxes for something like that, or the firefighting service will be sued out of existence. Or maybe something I haven't thought of yet. Definitely going to be interesting.
    This, mostly. Although, the fact that the government normally provides it doesn't make it a right rather than a privilege. That's like saying having car insurance is a right and not a privilege, because you're forced to pay for it and accept its services.

    Big boy rules apply for home owners. If you refuse to pay for it, don't expect the service. Besides, I didn't think any of the homeowners sounded particularly distraught in the video.

    For all we know, those people could have been refusing to pay for years on the grounds that the firefighters should do it anyways. Maybe the city has been having a problem with no one paying for it and decided to make a point. It was definitely a dick move, but being a firefighter doesn't strike me as an easy job and it shouldn't be expected that they'll risk their life for you even if you're fucking over their income and equipment.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member Trentham's Avatar
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    This happened a few counties over from where I live, so it's been a hot topic (no pun intended) in the local media outlets.

    The question of logistics with the local fire departments is pretty simple really - the county in question doesn't set aside tax money to fund a rural fire department, so residents outside city limits rely on the protection of the City of South Fulton fire department in exchange for the aforementioned $75 per year fee. The fee is basically a de facto tax paid in exchange for fire services, except that unlike a tax, it is voluntary.

    The City fire chief was within his rights to refuse service. I don't believe the insurance company would have much of a liability case against the department. I'm guessing they would hold the homeowner at fault for refusing to pay the fee. I also understand the precedent that would be set if they'd gone ahead and put out the fire - it would be a slap in the face of all the homeowners who had paid the $75. Ideally, the homeowner could have reimbursed the department for the full monetary cost to extinguish the fire, although this would seem unlikely to actually occur.

    What's really odd is that this particular county apparently doesn't have any volunteer fire departments, which are very common in most rural areas of the South. Thing is, volunteer departments cover their expenses with donations - and they know who donates and who doesn't. This same sort of thing could have happened in that scenario as well.
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