In Obion County, Tennessee, a man’s home burned to the ground as the local fire department refused to do anything about it. The homeowner, Gene Cranick, had refused to pay a County fee for fire control services from the neighboring city of South Fulton. It was understood that only homeowners paying the fee would be provided assistance by the fire department, but Cranick, the sly fox, decided to test the system. Not only did he start burning rubbish in his back yard, he let the fire spread to his home. Then, in a panic, he dialed 911 and offered to pay whatever it would take for the South Fulton firefighters to put out the flames…but was told it was too late. They wouldn’t do anything to stop his house from burning down. They did arrive to help put out the fire when it spread to Cranick’s neighbor’s home, but then he had paid the $75.
This story makes neither ethical nor logical sense. To begin with, Cranick is a fool, an unethical fool, and a cheap unethical fool. “I thought they’d come out and put it out, even if you hadn’t paid your $75, but I was wrong,” he said as a sifted through the ashes. I see. He decided to stiff the firefighters and the city of South Fulton, and take the service anyway. This is cosmic justice for Gene Cranick, if indeed he refused to pay. (In a televised interview, Cranick disputed this, and said he forgot.)
Either way, nobody deserves to have his house burn down.
The fire department was equally wrong, and maybe more so. A community’s citizens would join together and voluntarily help a neighbor save a neighbor’s home, but these trained, professional firefighters wouldn’t because of a lousy $75 bucks? Where is their kindness, where is their humanity? So they put out the fire and send a whopping bill for services later…is that really so hard to figure out? Would the South Fulton police department watch home invaders rape and kill a family that didn’t pay its police bill? Would a South Fulton lifeguard sit by and watch Cranick’s child drown? Would a South Fulton doctor shout taunts at Gene while he slowly died of a heart attack? Apparently so! “Anybody that’s not in the city of South Fulton, it’s a service we offer, either they accept it or they don’t,” South Fulton Mayor David Crocker said. Where is this city…Hell?
The system is so stupid as to be per se unethical. What kind of service was the fire department providing to Cranick’s fee-paying neighbor, whose property caught fire because the Mayor wanted to punish Cheap Gene? There is a reason why most municipalities abandoned private fire fighting companies more than a century ago: it doesn’t work. That lesson was learned the hard way; how did Obion County miss it? Aren’t there history books in Hell?
An irresponsible system; a cheap and irresponsible victim; a heartless and cruel bureaucrat commanding professionals who never heard of the Golden Rule, citizenship, or the duty to rescue:
Welcome to Obion County…unethical community of the year!