Don't worry. This is what can happen in the US, we do it slightly differently in the UK …… for now. In rural Tennessee US some fire-fighters refused to put out the fire in a house where the annual $75 fee had not been paid (1).

In fact they sprayed water on the adjoining property that had paid the fee right up to the property boundary.

One of the property owner's sons was prosecuted for assaultying the chief fire officer, David Wilds, over the matter because the fire-fighting force just looked on as the family home together with furniture and, reportedly, pets was reduced to ashes.

The home owner, Mr Cranick who now lives in a caravan on the site of his former house, pleaded with the telephone operator and said he would pay whatever was required. But the official response was that if they allowed this to happen no-one would pay until they needed the service.

"Anybody that's not inside the city limits of South Fulton, it's a service we offer. Either they accept it or they don't," said South Fulton Mayor David Crocker.

In a survey at the bottom of the article 75% said they should NOT have let the house burn down, 21% said let it burn and 4% weren't sure. That's out of 133,216 votes.

What this shows is that there is always going to be a conflict between money and maybe doing the right thing.

Had they come to the rescue of Mr Cranick's house then all those that had paid their dues would be just a bit miffed.

Bit a sensible approach to have taken would have been to give Mr Cranick an invoice for saving his house. An invoice of such a size that it proves to everyone else that the insurance policy of a $75 annual fee is well worth paying.

At least Mr Cranick had some insurance that will cover a proportion of the value he has lost.

Let's be thankful that we don't have a policy in the UK of 'no cash, your house is ash'.


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