1. #1
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    Angry Department refuses to put out fire

    I was just reading the story about a department in Missourri that wouldn't put out a fire because the person was not a member. (let the business burn down) Does this happen alot around the country or is this an isolated case. It seems to me if you have to resort to this to get your funding you need to have your %$#%&$# head examined. It doesn't say much for the people on the fire department; to call them professionals and decent human beings would be wrong.

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    From the limited facts in the story, my gut feeling says there is something else happening that we here in forum land dont ( and WONT) know.

    However, that being said, even running with my very limited budget volunteer dept. we would have a hard time, not mounting some kind of attack on the fire.
    I.A.C.O.J. "The Cork"

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    I agree there has to be more to the story than we know.....but based on what the story does say, I find it very hard to believe a fire dept stood by and watched a place of bussiness burn down...that is seriously F*%#&D up if they did.

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    i remember hearing about a year ago about this southern volunteer department, who responded to a dwelling fire and wouldn't put it out. The homeowner didn't pay the annual fee. However, if there was a person trapped inside, they would have done what was necessary to rescue the person, and that would be it.

    I can't say i agree with this system, but that is how they operate. I can just say that i'm glad to don't belong to that company, i wouldn't feel right just lettin the building burn.
    Firefighter, Volunteering since Oct 2001

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    "I can't say i agree with this system, but that is how they operate. I can just say that i'm glad to don't belong to that company, i wouldn't feel right just lettin the building burn."

    I can't agree with it either and not only would I not feel right watching it burn I don't know how I would ever get a good nights rest again knowing that I let something burn down that didn't have to...especially because of 90 dollars

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    New facts (maybe) from the local news channel (KCTV CBS).

    Rueda(the property owner) said he did not know he had to join the association to get fire protection for his four-acre property, which he has owned for 18 months.



    Even that being said, I can't imagine the owner not saying, well, I will certainly join, if y'all would just put out the fire and let me go get my checkbook.





    Still, I would have a hard time watching it burn, maybe not risk my butt for a member who refused to pay, but this is a guy who didnt know about the association.
    I.A.C.O.J. "The Cork"

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    This is just like the school bully extorting milk money from the other kids for so called "protection".

    It may be legal for them to operate in this way, but to my way of thinking, it sure as hell isn't ethical.

    What a bunch of losers!




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    I've heard of this occuring from time to time. I remember something like this happening in Alaska in the early 1980'w. IIRC, a majority of the voters who did not live in town owned vacant or undeveloped property. The fire department could not get voters (I believe it was a fire district) approval for a fire tax because the absentee property owners did not want to pay fire tax for vacant land. The FD had to rely on subscriptions to operate. When non-subscribers home caught fire the chief, after making sure everyone was out, let it burn. Believe it or not, the subscription rate went up the next year.

    Unfortunatley, for some small rural FD's the subscriptions pay a bulk of the operating expenses. Volunteer or not, there are still expenses in running a fire department.

    How many property owners would subscribe next year if they let the owner pay when the FD arrived on scene?

    I'm sure that there is a lot more to this story, there always is.
    -------------------
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    This is an article from a local paper, the Cassville Democrat....

    Fire destroys Monett repair shop By Lindsay Reed

    An auto maintenance and repair shop building, which was located outside of Monett on Farm Road 1090, was completely lost in a fire on Feb. 13.

    Bibaldo Rueda, who owns the damaged building, was using a wood heater to warm the inside of the shop building. After a few minutes, Rueda noticed smoke behind the heater and found that some pieces of cardboard behind the heater had ignited.

    Rueda clled the Monett Rural Fire Department at around 1 p.m. Firefighters arrived on scene 15 minutes later, but when the learned that Rueda was not a member of the fire department, they did not help extinguish the fire.

    "The fire department was here but they didn't do anything," said Rueda. "They said I needed a membership."

    "Our fire department is a member-based department," said Ronnie Myers, Monett Rural Fire Department fire chief. "If you are not a member, we can not help you fight a fire unless it is life threatening. Then we will go in and get the person out."

    The Monett Rural Fire Department has between 1,100 and 1,200 members. According to the membership office, those numbers are low compared to the number of households within the fire department district.

    Rueda said that he was unaware of the Monett Rural Fire Department's membership requirement.

    "We put information about the membership requirement out in the paper," said Myers. "We sit at Wal-Mart two or three times a year. We sit on Main Street during October Fest."

    Myers said he hopes when new people move into the Monett area neighbors will contact each other with information about the requirement.

    "Several times I sai I would pay the fees or just send me a bill," said Rueda.

    According to the Monett Rural Fire Department membership office, firefighters cannot accept membership fees after a fire has started.

    With the help of friends and family, Rueda used buckets of water and garden hoses to keep the fire from spreading to a nearby mobile home. He was burned on the left side of his face while trying to contain the fire.

    "The fire department stayed an hour just watching," said Rueda. "A lot of things could have been saved."

    As Rueda fought the fire, a member of the Monett Rural Fire Department contacted the Barry County Sheriff's office.

    "They called the sheriff because they thought we were mad, but we just wanted help," said Rueda.

    Detective Robert Evenson, with the Barry County Sheriff's Department, and Missouri State Highway Patrol Trooper John Luekenhoff were dispatched to the scene at around 1:25 p.m.

    "When I got there the firefighters were in the street watching it burn," said Evenson. "They (Rueda's family and friends) are the only reason the trailer didn't burn up. They didn't get a bit of help from the Monett Rural Fire Department."

    Evenson was surprised to learn that the Monett Rural Frie Department would not fight the fire because Rueda was not a member of the department.

    "They said their by-laws would not let them help unless the property owner had a membership," said Evenson.

    When Luekenhoff was leaving the property, Evenson heared a member of the Monett Rural Fire Department state that the department would help the officer under the same circumstances.

    "He said, 'John, if this was your house, we would put it out whether you had a membership or not,'" said Evenson. "That comment was inappropriate."

    Myers said he was unaware of the statement.

    Rueda, who was uninsured lost around $30,000 worth of cars and equipment in the fire.

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    One of the things about this deal is that Missouri law allows membership FD's to bill $100 for responding plus $500/hr for non-member fires. I'm with one of the neighboring departments (5 miles away from the fire, but didn't get called as mutual aid; they utilized a department with about 10-12 miles drive time instead) and we use the billing procedure. Statutes require the insurance company to have both the owner and FD on the settlement check to insure payment, and classifies non-payment as a Class A Misdeameanor.

    The SO ended up calling our department to protect exposures, cancelling us after the fire had burned down to the point it wasn't a threat. We're actually trying to find out why we weren't called in the first place, since the districts overlap.

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    Default Been there

    I was on a membership fire department in Georgia in the late 1960's. Our policy was that if you were not a member you got a bill.

    Stay safe,

    Pete
    Pete Sinclair
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    If I were a member of that department, or another department that operated in such a manner, I would be embarassed to come on to this forum and offer excuses or reasons as to why they let this mans business burn to the ground. Monett Rural Fire Department is nothing more than a money extortion ring. They should be ashamed of the way they conduct business and every other FD should be embarassed to call them brothers. This is disgusting. I would have kicked that Chiefs azz.
    Just another one of the 99%ers looking up.

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    While unfortunate, it's the way many of these rural companies pay the bills.
    The reality is that the minute you let one owner slide, the rest of the community will see that you are not serious about the membership requirement, and before you know it, the numbers of paying members will begin to drop. In a small community word spreads fast, and there are those who will sieze this as an opportunity to not pay up and still expect fire protection.

    For all of you in tax or town-funded operations life is good. However, unless you have operated in this type of enviroment, don't crititize. This is hiow they (barely,most likley) pay thier bills, unless you plan to write a personal check to cover thier budget shortfall.

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    It has been stated time after time after time on these forums that people get exactly the level of fire protection that they are willing to pay for.

    This guy got exactly the level of fire protection he was willing to pay for.

    Look at this another way. He elected not to pay for insurance, either. Suppose as his shop was burning, he ran into the insurance agency across the street and demanded that they write him a policy right then and there that would cover the loss that was in progress. Would the insurance company have been wrong to refuse to write the policy?

    Contract FD's and insurance companies are businesses. They provide services to paying customers.

    They did nothing wrong.

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    While unfortunate, it's the way many of these rural companies pay the bills.
    The reality is that the minute you let one owner slide, the rest of the community will see that you are not serious about the membership requirement, and before you know it, the numbers of paying members will begin to drop. In a small community word spreads fast, and there are those who will sieze this as an opportunity to not pay up and still expect fire protection.

    For all of you in tax or town-funded operations life is good. However, unless you have operated in this type of enviroment, don't crititize. This is hiow they (barely,most likley) pay thier bills, unless you plan to write a personal check to cover thier budget shortfall.
    I've never heard of such a thing before- this blows me away! Over here in Australia, there's none of these issues. You call for a fire brigade, they come, they put it out. Seems pretty simple....
    Luke

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    Lutan ....

    This is a very common way of funding rural fire departments that cannot get local direct funding from the town or county or has a citizen base that does not want to pay a dedicated fire tax.
    This is thier only source of funding, and as cruel as it sounds, if they don't enforce the "membership" requirements, thier funding will dry up quicker than a west Texas mud hole in August. The only other choice many of these departments have is to run on donations or fried chicken dinner fundriasers, both of which net even less money than the membership (also called subscription) option.

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    And this is...what century?

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    Wow, I have to agree with Georgewendt and LaFireEd - and in the same thread! As has been stated, this guy didn't feel the need to buy insurance either. Where does it end? I expect all the people here who are calling the department "mutts" will all be sending the guy generous donations to replace his property. Seeing as how he didn't have insurance or the fire membership he was obviously expecting someone to take care of him because he wasn't willing to do it himself. Could you guys send me some money too? That way I can drop my insurance too!
    I am a complacent liability to the fire service

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    The VFD that serves my area was a subscription department at one time. The cost was $ 25.00 per year.

    Our state law does not mandate fire protection in unincorporated areas and the counties do not have to provide fire protection.

    We were down to less than 30% of the property owners paying the annual fee when we finally got a district voted in so we could tax.

    We never refused to fight a fire but it was not unusual to be in court trying to collect from a property owner for the service rendered. We never lost a case but because it is a civil case and not a criminal one, we had to place leins on the property if the owner still refused to pay. It would sometimes take years to collect a $500.00 bill. Insurance companies would often include the fire department fee in the check to the property owner despite written notice not to do so. We then had to try to collect from the property owner.

    I would guess those who think this department is less than human don't have to wrestle with a budget that covers the basics such as utilities, fuel , insurance and such with no assurance that you will take in enough money for those basics without that "extra fund raiser" or dipping into your own pocket. New engine, hose, turnouts, etc are often out of reach. You have to realize that a fire department is a "governmental type" organization that has to live within its' means. Other forms of government only provide the amount of service the voters are willing to pay for. Why should a fire department be any different.

    I agree with George 100%. The property owner claims he didn't know of the fee requirement but it looks like the department publicizes the requirement at various events during the year. He apparently decided to take the risk and lost.

    Stay Safe
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChicagoFF
    Wow, I have to agree with Georgewendt and LaFireEd - and in the same thread! As has been stated, this guy didn't feel the need to buy insurance either. Where does it end? I expect all the people here who are calling the department "mutts" will all be sending the guy generous donations to replace his property. Seeing as how he didn't have insurance or the fire membership he was obviously expecting someone to take care of him because he wasn't willing to do it himself. Could you guys send me some money too? That way I can drop my insurance too!
    Holy Sh*t Hell Froze over...I too agree with George and LaFireEd! What is going on in here?

    This guy made a decision and took a risk and lost. I have no sympathy for him or any other idiot that won't do anything to help themselves.

    You get what you pay for and in this case...he gets nothing.

    FTM-PTB

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    Anyone who sympathizes with this department is a idiot. Rayr49 you call a fire department a governmental type agency; well most governmental agencies are messed up and this department is no different. If you have problems with funding you need to pursue other means. These guys need to be taken out and beaten. I'll bet if you put most of the guys together in this department you would be lucky to get a full set of teeth!

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    Sure Howells 22, resort to a calling anyone with a difference of opiniion an idiot. Come talk to me after you have forty+ years of career and VFD experience. Make sure a lot of that time is spent in planning, funding, public relations, and the hundred other things that make up a department. It's not all "put the wet stuff on the red stuff". Work with departments that have a budget of less than $5000.00 per year. We still do. The citizens know that their property will burn but all they can afford is a brush truck or two for a grass fire.


    What other avenues of funding do you propose? I guess that if you are convinced that most govermmental agencies are messed up then we should not have any.

    You have to fund the basics one way or another. We always had an increase in subscriptions when we won a court case because we made sure it was in the news. No one wants to see their name in the news on the losing side of a court case.

    The opinions of several of us on this thread are unpopular but most of us have "been there and done that" in one way or another. Maybe this will be the catalyst that causes the residents to form a fire district or provide some other means of funding for the department.

    Stay Safe
    IACOJ

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    this makes me mad. any person with a good heart would put out the fire if no one else would. once again....money. that's all anyone ever cares about anymore. money. now this man just lost his business because the fd is greedy.

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    Good heart does not buy fuel for the trucks, turnouts or anything else needed to fight the fire unless you are the "rich uncle" who wants to fund the department out of the "goodness of your heart"

    Stay Safe
    IACOJ

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    I will agree with you in hoping that this is a catalyst for change, but what happened was still wrong. When I suggest other methods of funding I mean billing for services or seeking political change. If you are going to be selective about to whom you provide your service to then I believe you should get out of the business. Just my opinion.

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