IAFF criticizes Tenn. fire department for letting house burn

IAFF General President Schaitberger said the loss of the home was "completely avoidable" and blamed local fire protection policy

By FireRescue1 Staff

SOUTH FULTON, Tenn. — The IAFF has criticized the Tenn. fire department that refused to extinguish a mobile home fire.

South Fulton firefighters initially did not respond to the fire on Sept. 29 because the homeowner didn't pay a $75 annual fire protection fee, and later arrived on scene only because nearby homeowners' property was threatened.

The incident drew national attention and criticism from IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger.

"The decision by the South Fulton Fire Department to allow a family's home to burn to the ground was incredibly irresponsible," Schaitberger said on Tuesday.

Schaitberger blamed local fire protection policy for the loss of the home, which he called "completely avoidable."

"Because of South Fulton's pay-to-play policy, firefighters were ordered to stand and watch a family lose its home," he said.

"Everyone deserves fire protection because providing public safety is among a municipality's highest priorities."

"Professional, career firefighters shouldn't be forced to check a list before running out the door to see which homeowners have paid up. They get in their trucks and go."

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