For the second time in just over a year, the city of South Fulton, TN, has found itself having to respond to a flurry of criticism over a controversial fee it requires of residents outside city limits who wish to be protected from fire damage.
When Vicky Bell called 911, firefighters from South Fulton rushed to her mobile home just outside the city. But once it was determined that Bell and her boyfriend had not paid the $75 “pay for spray” fee, firefighters simply stood around and watched her home burn to the ground.
The scene was reminiscent of a similar incident which occurred in October of last year. In that instance, the home owner reportedly offered to pay whatever it took for firefighters to help, but was told it was “too late.”
Mayor David Crocker stood by the city’s policy, telling Local 6 that “there’s no way to go to every fire and keep up the manpower, the equipment, and just the funding for the fire department.”
Crocker believes that helping even one non-subscriber would result in a lack of incentive to pay the fee. “After the last situation, I would hope that everybody would be well aware of the rural fire fees, this time,” he said.
Indeed, Bell told the news station she was aware of the fee, but didn’t think this could happen to her.
No word on why the couple wasn’t given the option of paying a fine in exchange for the services of the firefighters who, according to bell, were already at the scene “sitting at a distance.”
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