South Fulton Fire Department Does the Right Thing

There has been a substantial amount of criticism of the South Fulton Fire Department (“SFFD”) following their refusal to extinguish a fire to home on Tuesday December 6th. They have been called nothing short of negligent criminals by nearly all in the media. That said, they had little choice but to stand by and watch the house burn to the ground.

The SFFD is funded by taxes from the approximately 3,000 taxpayers residing in the city of South Fulton, TN. The surrounding communities have no fire department of their own, but instead rely on the SFFD. The catch is that South Fulton has no authority to tax the residents outside the city limits. In order to make sure the surrounding communities pay their fair share of the expenses involved in maintaining a fire department, SFFD charges a $75 a year fee in order to be provided with fire protection. If you don’t pay the fee, you are not entitled to the service.

SFFD will always respond and provide any assistance in the event of a LIFE-SAFETY issue, but not that of Property-Safety, unless you have paid your annual fee. This policy is very simple, and has been in place for a long time. SFFD needs to have a larger than normal department purely for the reason of responding to these non-taxed rural communities and that funding needs to come from somewhere. Watching someone’s house burn to the ground when they have not paid their fee is the only method of coercion SFFD has, otherwise no one would every pay. To suggest otherwise is foolish.

Vickie Bell is a prime example of such a person. SFFD allowed the house of another non-paying family to burn approximately a year ago, yet Ms Bell still didn’t pay. How would you feel if your fire department cost you two to three times as much solely because they were constantly responding to out-of-area calls? Better yet, what the fire department, you pay taxes for, was not able to respond to your home because they were off on an out of area call, and didn’t have the resources to respond to both emergencies at the same time?

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