Tenn. firefighters 'let home burn;' owner didn't pay fee

Police say the homeowner's son was so angry he later went to the fire house and punched the chief


The Associated Press

SOUTH FULTON, Tenn. — Firefighters in a far western Tennessee city let a mobile home burn to the ground because the owner didn't pay an annual $75 fire protection fee, authorities say.

Jeff Vowell, city manager of South Fulton, told the Union City Daily Messenger that the city fire department let Gene Cranick's trailer home near the Kentucky border burn last week because he didn't pay the subscription common in many rural areas.

Cranick's doublewide home is outside city limits. But South Fulton offers fire protection to nearby residents for a fee and once the fire threatened to spread, the department did protect a neighboring house that had paid.

Cranick's son, Timothy, was so angry he later went to the fire house and punched the chief, police said. The younger Cranick was charged with aggravated assault and is free on bond, according to authorities.

South Fulton Mayor David Crocker told the newspaper that if the city allowed people to pay after the fact there would be no incentive to subscribe. As an analogy, he said an insurer won't pay for an auto accident if insurance lapses.

Vowell and Crocker did not return calls from The Associated Press. A message left at a phone listing for Cranick was not immediately returned Tuesday.

Associated Press
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