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GLENN: Homeowner Gene Cranick said he offered to pay whatever it would take for fire fighters to put out the flames, but he was told it was too late. They couldn't do anything to stop his house from burning. A county in Tennessee every year says you have to pay $75 if you want fire protection from the city of south fall ton. The Cranicks didn't play didn't pay. The mayor said if the homeowners don't pay, they're out of luck. This is what was on television the night after.
VOICE: A house goes up in flames and fire fighters don't respond, despite the homeowner's plea for help.
VOICE: I didn't pay my $75 and that's what they want, $75 and they don't care how much they burn down.
VOICE: Imagine your home catches fire but the local fire department first won't respond, then watches it burn.
VOICE: That's exactly what happened to a local family tonight. A local neighborhood is furious after fire fighters watch as an Obion County Tennessee home burned to the ground. The homeowner said he offered to pay whatever it would take for fire fighters to put out the flames but was told it was too late and they wouldn't do anything to stop his house from burning. Each year Obion County residents must pay $75 if they want fire protection from the City of South Fulton. This family did not pay and the mayor says if they don't pay, they're out of luck.
Local 6's Jason Heads joins us now with our top story tonight. Jason, we've talked about this issue before. Homes on fire but the family didn't pay the $75 fee. So, the fire department doesn't respond. What finally got those fire fighters to leave the station?
VOICE: Well, Jennifer, this fire went on for hours because garden hoses just wouldn't put it out. It wasn't until that fire spread to a neighbor's property that the fire department would respond. It turns out the neighbor had paid the fee.
VOICE: I thought they would come out and put it out, even if you hadn't paid your $75.
PAT: Well, you're wrong.
GLENN: You're wrong.
Vote and Comment: Is Burning Home Sign of ‘Tea Party’ America?
PAT: Even if you pay your 75, I thought they would go ahead and put it out.
Glenn: Here's the thing. This is
PAT: And then put it out. I thought they would, but they didn't put it out.
GLENN: Okay. All right.
PAT: I wanted them to put it out, but I didn't pay $75 and they wouldn't put it out.
GLENN: Thank you. Here's the thing. Those who are just on raw feeling are not going to understand. It's $75 at the at the beginning of the year. You pay it and they put your house out. If you don't pay it, they don't put your house out.
PAT: Yeah, but I thought they were going to put the house out even though I didn't pay.
GLENN: Okay. If they did that, would anyone pay their $75?
PAT: Well, you would they would think that they were going to put it out, anyway, and when they don't come and put it out and watch your house burning to the ground, that ain't right.
GLENN: If they did if they did put the fire out and make an exception for your house and you didn't pay
PAT: Then others get bigger house put out, too. That's what the fire department does, put out fires.
GLENN: Right. They don't have the money to put the fires out. They can't keep the fire department
PAT: What's the fire department for if you don't put out fires?
GLENN: You won't have one because you can't afford it.
PAT: I thought they put out my fire even though I didn't pay the $75.
GLENN: See, this is the kind of argument that America will have.
PAT: It is.
GLENN: And it goes nowhere if you go on to well, compassion, compassion, compassion, compassion or, well, they should have put it out. What is the fire department for? No. What is the $75 for? To keep the firemen available, to keep the fire trucks running, to pay for the fire department to have people employed to put the fire out. If you don't pay your $75, then that hurts the fire department. They can't use those resources and you would be sponging off of your neighbor's $75 if you they put out your neighbor's house and you didn't pay for it I mean in your neighbor didn't pay for it, you did, and they put out their house, your neighbor is sponging off of your $75 inches and as soon as they put out the fire of somebody who didn't pay the 75 bucks, no one
GLENN: No one
PAT: will pay $275.
GLENN: Why would you pay the $75? You don't have to. They're going to put it out, anyway.
PAT: Yeah. End to the program.
GLENN: This is important for America to have this debate because, A, this is the kind of stuff that is going to happen. We are going to start to have to have these kinds of things.
Now, if you think that's insane, this is Obamacare. Obama has just changed the system. Now, ask yourself, have this debate with your friends: What happens if they put this fire out?
PAT: Well, they would have saved the house.
GLENN: Talk to me about the next time that you have to write a check for $75. When you have to write the check for the next and your neighbor's house was put out, even though they didn't pay the $75, are you going to pay the $75, especially when that $75 you can use for something else? Are you going to pay the $57? The answer, if you want to answer honestly, will be know? You will find, especially in tough times, something else to do with that $75.
Well, now, after you've answered that question about this fire insurance, let me ask you the same question about your health insurance. If you can get away with not paying for your health insurance because it's too expensive and why should you pay for it and, really, if I get sick, they'll only fine me a thousand dollars and they have to treat me, anyway, and I can just call up an insurance company if I've gotten if I have cancer and I say, Hey, I need to sign up for insurance. Well, do you have any preexisting conditions? Yes. Cancer. And they have no choice but to cover you, that's like calling 9 1 1. Well, did you pay your $75? No, but I'm going to when you get here.
PAT: Apparently they offered. Apparently they offered to pay it.
GLENN: Sure. Of course they did. That is the idea of insurance. You'll pay whatever when it happens. Well, no. Pay $75 and by paying that $75, it spreads the total out for everybody. Not everybody's house is not going to burn down and if it does, well, the fire department's not going to be able to put them all out.
STU: An important point here is that previous to the $75 policy, there was no fire coverage at all for these areas. It was a rural area and they didn't go out there for any reason, for any fire at any time. They implemented the $75 fee to give some access to fire services for these people. Before that both houses burned to the ground, both of them, and now only one of them did. So, I mean, it's a tough decision. I understand that you're there and everything else and it's a there's got to be
GLENN: There's no choice. If you put the fire out, no one will pay and then you are bankrupt and there's to pay for any fire insurance
STU: And after this everybody is paying the $75.
GLENN: They know.
PAT: This is the same argument that we have almost every day. It's social justice or equal justice. Equal justice is you didn't pay your 75 bucks, the house burns to the ground; because your neighbor did pay the 75 bucks, we're going to watch over their house. Social justice is, Well, your house is on fire, we're here, anyway. We're going to put it out.
GLENN: And equal justice, then requires you as somebody in the community or church or somebody else that now says we're going to help them rebuild the house, we're going to help them out, we're going to make sure they have a place to stay and a place to eat.
GLENN: Social justice takes it and forces the community to do it, but real justice, real justice and real hope, real faith, real charity could have also said these guys could have come and said we know our responsibility for our house and it's $75 of the you go to the church and say, I don't have $75. Can I do anything? I'll work for the whole year on something for $75, but I want to be responsible. Can you help me pay the $75? And I know at least my church would give you they would write the check for you and then you would have to serve and you would work out of that $75. You would work at a soup kitchen or you would work at the pantry or something, that you would earn that money if it was really, truly necessary, you would person the money and they would help you do it and if your church isn't doing that, you need to talk to your church and say, Why aren't we helping each other? We've got to do these things. That's what it's about. But social justice will condemn this fire department. They will say they should have fought it. Social justice will now take it from other people and destroy the system. They will push it up to a government responsibility instead of the individual's responsibility, not just the people in the house but the neighbors and the community and the friends. That's just the way it is. $75 is a lot of money to some people, a lot of money, but if it is the house burning down, I think $75 is a reasonable amount of money to ask and say, I need help, can somebody help me with the $75? And if you if you're willing to work for it, yes, yes, $75? You can't tell your neighbors, your friends, you have no neighbors or friends that you can say, Hey, I'll do that. And can I mow your lawn for $10 this week? Can I mow your lawn for the next seven and a half weeks for $10 a week?
STU: You could probably work for the fire department to work out of $75. I mean go to them. They probably have something you could do for a weekend that would make you $75.
GLENN: You can work one shift at McDonald's that everybody likes to make fun of. Now, here is the caveat. If there is someone in the house, the fire fighters have a moral responsibility to go in and save people
STU: Yeah. You have to.
GLENN: But not stuff. As long as there's nobody in the house
PAT: What about a dog, cat, pets?
STU: Yeah. I say "yes," you've got to save the dogs.
GLENN: I say yes. It kills me, but I have
PAT: You've got to say "yes" on the dog.
GLENN: Unless it's putting the firemen in danger. I'm not going to put the house out, but I will back up the truck, let's get the dog. Let's make sure the dog is okay, unless it puts the firemen in danger. You don't risk lives for a cat or a dog a firemen.
GLENN: I mean, I hate to say that because I love my dogs
STU: Oh, yeah. Human life is obviously the pentacle here. It's interesting, though. It's not cut and dry as most of these things are. You're sitting there. You have the opportunity. I mean, I would think as a policy, obviously it's, you know look. You didn't pay your money, but as you're standing there with the hose in your hands and all you've got to do is flip, you've got to think the fire fighters were very conflicted over that, standing right there.
GLENN: They have to. And fire fighters are heroes, man. They love to do this. They live for that. So, it's not the fire fighters.