Fire Department Lets House Burn Down Over Unpaid Dues

Oct 9th, 2010 Featured News, World. RSS 2.0.

A small town fire company in Tennessee that responded to a house fire was ordered to let the structure burn down because the owner had not paid the $75 subscription fee.  Fire fighters across East Tennessee expressed their anger over the fire department’s decision to let the double wide trailer burn down because dues had not been paid.  Three dogs died in the fire.

Images on television show the firefighters sitting in their fire trucks while the home of Gene and Paulette Cranick burns to the ground.  Cranick said in television interviews that he told firefighters he forgot to pay his dues and would pay them after the firefighters put the blaze out.  Cranick lived just outside the city limits of South Fulton in Fire Tennesse Dues1 Fire Department Lets House Burn Down Over Unpaid DuesNorthwest Tennessee in Obion County, but within an area that allows homeowners to subscribe to the city’s fire department services by paying a $75 annual fee.

Doug McClanahan said “Truly, a firefighter cannot stand by and watch something burn to the ground.”  McClanahan, chief of the Blount County ire Department, said a fire fighter is trained to take care of and rescue people, and “He can’t stand by and not try to react to a fire or a rescue.”  Steve Wheeler, chief of Vonore, Tennessee Fire Department, said “We don’t particularly care who’s paid his dues.  If somebody needs help, we help and worry about everything else later.”

Paulette Cranton, 67, said she does not blame the firefighters for not putting out the fire because they were just following orders.  She said she is just thankful no one was hurt.

22 Comments for “Fire Department Lets House Burn Down Over Unpaid Dues”

  1. SaberW


    Re: the County:
    This county and state are true hillbillies, they are way behind times. The best way to prevent crap like this is to have a tax for the fire departements. This will eleminate “looking up to see if the caller has paid his fee”. But does this mean this county will be looking up to “see if the caller has paid his taxes”?

    What a waste of critical time to look up the payment statis of the caller.

    Maybe this county needs to vote in a new mayor and officals who will fix this problem.

    Re: The Family:
    Also, the fire slowly moved from the beginning spot, to a garage or shed, then made its way to the house. Why did the family not go let the animals out before it got to the house? I think once they seen the fire was heading to the house and they knew the fire department was not going to help, why not save the animals yourself? It is their own fault the animals died.

    Re: Fire Department:
    Is this fire department run off of “Volunteers”? What’s the point of having “volunteers” if they are not really volunteers? Most of the truck expense had been used while responding to the neighbor. A volunteer is a person who performs a service willingly and without pay.

    So the “Volunteers” just stood by and watched. So firefighters are only heros if they are paid to do so. Please stop calling firefighters heros, they are only doing what they are paid to do, this event proves that point.

  2. This guy


    On your definition then pretty much noone is a hero. Bullshit what the officers did but the firefighters were following the orders of an officer and unfortunately in that area the order to not fight the fire is a legitimate one based off their city laws

  3. WOWSERS


    Wonder how many of these people call themselves Christian and went to church the following Sunday. Remember that part of the bible where Jesus only helped those that paid him. Remember when Jesus stood there and watched someone lose everything because the person forgot to pay their $75? I think that was in the book of Matthew wasn’t it? And these weren’t some young kids that were losing everything, Paulette is 67 YEARS OLD. Jesus always preached to stand around while your elders suffered right?

    Who’s the real outstanding person in all of this? Paulette Cranton who at 67 lost the roof over her head over a measly $75 bucks and YET… YET forgave the firemen who stood there and watch everything be destroyed.

  4. RachelM


    I don’t understand the comment “she is just thankful no one was hurt.” Three dogs were killed in the fire, and in another report I heard that a cat also died in the fire. Do these people have no feelings for their pets? And… had a human possibly been trapped inside, would the town still have checked to see whether payments were up to date before deciding whether or not to fight the fire? It’s disgraceful.

  5. CO


    You have no way of knowing what situation caused them to leave the animals inside, so deciding they are at fault is, at best, wholly uneducated speculation. The animals could have been in an area of the house that was unreachable because of the flames by the time they knew the house was burning down. If my dogs were in my kitchen, with a fire in my living room, I would have no hope of rescuing them myself. It is far too judgmental to stand back and point a finger unless you were actually there at the time and know first-hand.

    That said, I have lived in Tennessee for nearly 10 years, and I am in no way a “hillbilly.” I was born and raised in West Virginia, and still–not a hillbilly. Your grammar, however, makes me wonder why you seem to believe you are in a position to label any person, much less an entire state of people.

    There is no excuse for the behavior of this fire department. It is unconscionable. I can only hope community outrage will bring them to some sort of justice.

  6. Stephanie


    No one got hurt? What about your 3 dogs that you willingly let suffer a slow, painful death while you stood by and watched? I agree with the comment above. Firefighters shouldn’t be labeled as heroes. They are doing a paid job. Especially in this case, where the firefighters reactions were clearly based on money. This is terrible on so many levels. Bless those poor dogs that had such a horrible, unnecessary y death.

  7. John


    First of all Firefighters are heros and we should call them so they were just doing what they were told its the person that dont belive in paying the fees fault now im sure if there was a person in there they would hhave rescued them

  8. Nathan


    The firefighters did the right thing in this case and to suggest that the solution to a non problem is insane.


  9. I am almost speechless at reading the above article! I pray they were insured and will be able to put their lives back together – at least their material lives. It will be hard to get over the loss of their pets I am sure. If anyone knows how I might be able to reach the Cranicks, please let me know. I have been through two house fires and have started an organization to help people through their own recoveries. I think outside of the box when it comes to dealing with insurance claims and would like to help them in any way I can. All assistance is offered free of charge. contact@outoftheasheswa.org http://www.outoftheasheswa.org. I pray whomever enacted the $75 fee pay up or we will watch it burn get his head served to him on a platter – whan an idot!


  10. This incident is just the perfect argument against those who do not believe in paying taxes and keep complaining about paying taxes. A fee for firefighting? What in heaven’s name is the matter with that community? There are basic needs a society must meet for its population and emergency services is one of them. That is why I pay taxes and that is why I vote for those who know how to meet the needs of our communities. My heart goes out to that couple in Tennessee. I think that this is one of those cases that merit legal action.

  11. Lori


    I was going to let this slide that maybe it was understandable — teach this guy a lesson/teach the whole community a lesson, but I just heard about the four pets inside the house that burned to death. Ok, if there were living things in the house then my mind is changed totally. I’d say charge the fire department with animal cruelty — because that’s exactly what you did.

  12. rick the vet


    Wow throwin the “hero” around loosely, screw fulton co and mccalan, sorry excuse of a public servant, living off the taxes

  13. Jerry


    I will no longer take my vacations anywhere in TN. That’s three vacations a years at $7,000 a pop. They can keep their fish, their lakes and their cabins. Over a ten year period that will be over $200,000 that doesn’t go into their economy. I will convince my four friends that travel with me on these fishing trips to do the same. So, TN suck on the loss of over $1,000,000 over a ten year period.
    Oh Yeah, You are no longer called the Volunteer State according to my check book.

  14. CO


    Jerry: Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Other fire chiefs in Tennessee have come out very vocally against this south Fulton fire department’s behavior. The rest of the Tennessee is just as appalled as everyone else. This is one little town in a state full of other people who still have a conscience.

  15. Geno


    funny how people decide to not pay for services, because “what are the chances” then scream bloody murder when something happens. What if he decided to not pay his home owners insurance, and offered to pay the insurance company as the fire was approaching? Do you think the insurance company would say, “okay, I’m sure you meant to pay it”, or would they laugh at you- same thing- pay for what you need and quit cry-babying when you screw up! you gambled and lost.

  16. whathehell iswrong


    i hope that fire crew dies in the next fire they try to put out..and that their family gets cancer and dies so that their cowardly genes will not be carried on in this world

  17. Jeff


    I would like to be the attorney for the people who were living in that trailer. BIG LAWSUIT against the fire department who would have absolutely NO VALID DEFENSES available to them.

  18. Adrian


    Oh what a civilised country America is. The saddest thing is that people seem to think that this acceptable on the part of the fire service….unbelievable!

  19. Sondi


    If you read the article it states they lived outside the city limits. This means they were not required to pay city taxes. City taxes support services of the city such as the fire department. Because the Cranicks were outside the city limits they had the option to pay for the services they needed that they were not supporting with taxes. Seems to me $75 a year is a good investment for fire service. Since they didn’t pay the house burned, sad yes but consequences have actions. I hardly think its fair to provide services to all people if they are not willing to pay for them either through taxes or subscription (which itself is a tax).

  20. betanu


    Some of you people are idiots you do not obviously understand the diddrence between human life and animal life maybe the firefighters wanted to go home and see their families instead of dying saving a dog which bring a firefighter is not even in our job description islap that’s how the world works don’t pay for it don’t get it these people knew this when they talked and said we don’t need the fire departments asisstance if there is a emergency situation they chose their fate

  21. Peg


    This is disgusting…..makes me sick to my stomach that this could even happen. Those poor pets didn’t have a chance, and to not rescue them when it WAS safe for the firefighters is a neglect of duty (and lack of having a heart) in my opinion..whether it is in the “job description” or not..,.to save ALL life as much as possible SHOULD be part of the job, and thank GOD for the firefighters who have a heart and do rescue pets…..anyone who doesn’t consider their pets family don’t deserve the unconditional love a pet gives anyhow and I feel sorry for you!

  22. Stewy


    Seriously, making a big deal about pets? Its called the Humane Society, if everyone cared so much then why do we have HS’s. Pets are replaceable. People were not hurt in the fire, other than they don’t have a house. Every choice/action has a consequence. The family forgetting to pay is not the FD’s problem. Their operational costs are covered by the city’s taxes. “Should-of” doesn’t pay the fire fighter’s paycheck or feed their families. The Chief is looking out for his department and being able to continually operated it, with limited fiances(as most FD have to do). If they can not get financial backing, then they can not operate period. The resident saying he was going to pay, doesn’t mean he was/would. Hope and faith doesn’t pay operational costs. If it did, then there wouldn’t be collection agencies.

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