Couple claims firefighters refused to put out fire at their home - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Couple claims firefighters refused to put out fire at their home

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By Heartland News

SOUTH FULTON, TN (KFVS) - An Obion County couple claims they lost their home, three dogs and a cat last week because South Fulton firefighters refused to put out the blaze.

"I called 911," said homeowner Paulette Cranick.  "They said, 'We're trying to get them out there but they're not cooperating,' or words to that effect."

The reason, according to Cranick, is because her home was not located within the South Fulton city limits, and neither she nor her husband Gene had paid the required $75 annual fee for rural fire coverage. 

South Fulton City manager Jeff Vowell confirmed the Cranicks had not paid the fee, which has been the department's policy since 1990.  Cranick said her failure to pay was an oversight.

"I've paid it many, many times," Cranick said, "I just haven't gotten around to it (this year)."  Cranick pointed out that the fire station is on the edge of town and "we don't go out that way every often." 

Cranick said the fire started Wednesday, September 29, when her son was burning papers inside a burn barrel on the property.  Cranick was unsure exactly how the grass around the barrel caught fire, but said the blaze eventually spread to her home.

A passerby and several neighbors helped put out the fire with a water hose, but Cranick said South Fulton firefighters didn't respond until the blaze spread to her neighbor's yard.  Her neighbors had paid the annual fire protection fee.

Even more puzzling to Cranick is why firefighters failed to respond to her home when, according to her, they had helped people in the past who hadn't paid.

"It doesn't make sense," she said.  "Two or three years ago this house up here caught fire.  My son lives there but they waived the fee."  Cranick said South Fulton firefighters had also previously helped people but sternly reminded them to pay the fee the next day.

"I guess they have to let a house burn once in awhile to teach us a lesson," Cranick said.

The mayor has not commented, nor has anyone with the South Fulton Fire Department. 

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