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Old 10-05-2010, 11:33 PM
Location: Knoxville, Tennessee
22,533 posts, read 46,060,389 times
Reputation: 13302


If you are in Knoxville, you get fire service, but your taxes are higher. You also get trash, refuse and bulk pickup and a discount on your insurance. Outside in the county, you pay for rural metro and the local fire department subscription. Your taxes are lower though, and man, those taxes can be incredibly low. The $75 is not a bad deal.

However, I will say that when I first moved here I lived in the county and I watched a neighbors house on fire the first month we were here. They did not have the subscription but the fire department came and put it out. I suspect they had to foot the bill, though. Watching the fire burn down the house is ridiculous.
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Old 10-06-2010, 06:47 AM
Location: Chattanooga, TN
2,773 posts, read 3,676,401 times
Reputation: 4236
We live in Hamilton County outside the city of Chattanooga and we're served by the Tri-Community volunteer fire department. They charge a $108 annual fee for coverage. If I understand their policy correctly they WILL respond to any fire or medical emergency in their coverage area. However, if you aren't a member (i.e., you "forget" to pay the membership dues), they send you a bill for the services. This will likely cost several thousand dollars.

I can see the point of the policy; you can pay the fee or not. Not paying is gambling. Why should fire-fighters risk their lives and equipment for someone who wants to gamble with their life and property? It's not like he said "I couldn't afford it", and I'd be willing to bet that the home owner has "forgotten" to pay the fee for the past several years, if he ever paid at all.

On the other hand, letting the house burn because it "wasn't on a list" is quite a gamble on the part of the City. What happens if there's an error on the list? What if the home owner did pay, but whoever opened the envelope at the City applied the payment to the wrong account? What if the 911 operator types the address incorrectly into the list (i.e., types 123 Hill Rd instead of 123 E. Hill Rd.)?

And for what it's worth, I'd bet South Fulton gets a sudden flood of money as people in the county suddenly "remember" to pay their fire service fee.
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Old 10-06-2010, 07:03 AM
Location: Cumberland Co., TN
20,014 posts, read 20,504,984 times
Reputation: 20369
Sounds like I am very lucky in my rural area. We have a volunteer fire department. Some tax monies must be paid to keep up the equipment, but all fire fighters volunteer their time and will respond to any fire in a reasonable area.
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Old 10-06-2010, 07:13 AM
Location: Niota, TN
851 posts, read 2,079,698 times
Reputation: 471
It is sooo sad. I feel really bad for this family. And I am surprised that the fire dept didn't service that house too since they were out at the location. But people need to understand also that "services" are NOT free. It costs a lot of money (maintenance, insurance, fuel, registration) to run those trucks and also pay the employees (hourly pay, insurance, pension)to man the trucks. Either everyone voluntary pays a little or if that doesn't work they will have to pay a lot... I know I wouldn't want to pay the expenses for that truck/firemen to come out, so I will make sure that I pay my fees.
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Old 10-06-2010, 07:16 AM
1,113 posts, read 1,888,825 times
Reputation: 824
Anyone remember the old days when helping a family in a desperate situation wasn't about a fee?
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Old 10-06-2010, 07:21 AM
9,807 posts, read 12,896,672 times
Reputation: 8127
There is a lengthy discussion about this ,also, in the Politics and Other Controversies Forum.

The guy sounds like a genuine deadbeat and freeloader.
Glad he isn't my neighbor.
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Old 10-06-2010, 07:25 AM
9,807 posts, read 12,896,672 times
Reputation: 8127
Maybe I should try that with my car insurance-------I'll pay the premuium if I have an accident ( and expect coverage)

House insurance------I'll pay the premium only if a tornado strikes or a fire starts.

Health ins--------I'll pay the premium after I am in the hospital.

Yup, we should all be deadbeats and freeloaders.
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Old 10-06-2010, 07:29 AM
9,807 posts, read 12,896,672 times
Reputation: 8127
Originally Posted by DubbleT View Post
Good question. The guy says in the video says it's not the first time his family has expected the fire department to respond to a fire when their fees hadn't been paid. Earlier the fire department had let his son pay their fee the day after responding to a small fire. Sounds like he was expecting to pay as you go. I think there 's more to this story than we're being told.
I also wonder how difficult it would be to 'forget' something like that. The home warranty company I once used has been sending me reminders for almost a year that I let my coverage lapse, not a chance they'd let me forget. They want my money too badly! Wonder if the fire department sent out multiple notices like private businesses do?
----it's not the first time his family has expected----------------

Smart fire dept.

Fool me once,shame on you
Fool me twice,shame on me
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Old 10-06-2010, 09:32 AM
4,925 posts, read 9,479,098 times
Reputation: 3243
I used to be on a volunteer fire department...we wouldn't respond to out-of-district fires unless requested to aid by the responsible fire department. I personally don't blame the fire department for not responding in this case. Each response by any department puts their people at risk.

What I can't imagine is responding to a fire next door and refusing to knock the fire down since you're already there. There's just got to be more to this than the media is reporting.
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Old 10-06-2010, 10:15 AM
Location: Maryville, TN
336 posts, read 1,039,307 times
Reputation: 194
Our county handles this by billing a fee of $1100 for responding to a non-subscriber fire, and $1100 per hour after the first hour for the work, instead of having the firemen stand around roasting smores watching the fire burn.

Sheesh! Doesn't that county have enough sense to think of something this simple? It's fairly easy to put a lien on property, and even the land should be worth enough to cover the cost of the labor, if the homeowner won't pay up.

The cost of the response is an incentive to get them to pay. If they don't, the huge bill will take care of it. That or the loss of their property.
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