Tenn. Chief Attacked Over House Allowed to Burn

The South Fulton fire chief was assaulted by a man after crews were unable to respond to a house fire last week due to an unpaid rural fire subscription fee, according to The Messenger.

Fire Chief David Wilds was transported and treated at an area hospital following the incident that occurred at approximately 5:45 p.m. on Sept. 29 at the city's fire station in the South Fulton Municipal Building.

His alleged attacker -- 44-year-old Timothy A. Cranick -- was arrested and charged with felony aggravated assault, according to the report.

South Fulton Police Chief Andy Crocker told the newspaper that Cranick is a family member of the resident whose property was burned. He entered the station looking for Wilds, and when he identified himself he allegedly struck him.

The fire chief was knocked down and was rendered virtually defenseless. The man was pulled off Wilds by other firefighters who restrained him until additional help arrived.

South Fulton City Manager Jeff Vowell told the newspaper that Wilds was "doing OK" the day after the incident and was back at the fire station.

The fire that provoked the attacked occurred at approximately 2:30 p.m. that same day at Gene Cranick's property on Buddy Jones Road.

Vowell said that since the property owner was not a paying member of the rural fire subscription service, the call was declined and the city's fire department could not respond.

"I have no problem with the way any of my people handled the situation. They did what they were supposed to do," he told the newspaper. "It's a regrettable situation any time something like this happens."

The department did respond to a request to protect the property of the adjacent property owner, who is a member of the rural fire subscription service.

South Fulton's annual fee is $75, according to the report.