Tenn. Home Burns... as Firefighters Watch

'Pay to spray' fee strikes again

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 7, 2011 9:11 AM CST

(Newser) – Stop us if you've heard this one before: A home caught fire in Obion County, Tenn., recently, and firefighters showed up ... to watch it burn. The boys in red didn’t lift a hose to stop the fire because the homeowners hadn't paid their $75 yearly fee for non-city-dwellers, WPSD 6 reports. If that sounds familiar, it's because the same thing happened in the same area a little over a year ago, in an incident that garnered national attention—but no policy changes.

South Fulton's mayor says he supports the so-called "pay to spray" policy, and says that if firefighters didn't let deadbeat homes burn, no one would pay. "After the last situation, I would hope that everybody would be well aware of the rural fire fees." Indeed, the home's owner, Vicky Bell, admits that she knew of the fee, but decided to risk not paying. "We just wish we could have gotten more out," she says.

A fire engine came for Vicky Bell's home, but it didn't save it.
A fire engine came for Vicky Bell's home, but it didn't save it.   (Shutterstock)
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