Oct. 6) -- A small rural community in western Tennessee is outraged and the fire chief is nursing a black eye after firefighters stood by and watched a mobile home burn to the ground because the homeowner hadn't paid a $75 municipal fee.
South Fulton city firefighters -- equipped with trucks, hoses and other firefighting equipment -- didn't intervene to save Gene Cranick's doublewide trailer home when it caught fire last week. But they did arrive on the scene to protect the house of a neighbor, who had paid his fire subscription fee.
"I just forgot to pay my $75," Cranick told ABC News. "I did it last year, the year before. ... It slipped my mind."
Later that day, Cranick's son Timothy went to the fire station to complain, and punched the fire chief in the face.
"He just cold-cocked him," Police Chief Andy Crocker told the Union City Daily Messenger. The younger Cranick was arrested and charged with felony aggravated assault, and South Fulton Fire Chief David Wilds was treated and released from a hospital, Crocker said.
Firefighters in South Fulton city are under orders to respond only to fire calls within their city limits, as well as to surrounding Obion County, but only to homes there where people have signed up for a fire subscription service.
Because Cranick hadn't paid his fee, firefighters doused the border of his neighbor's property to protect that house in case the flames spread, but wouldn't help him. He lost all his possessions, plus three dogs and a cat.
"They could have been saved if they had put water on it, but they didn't do it," Cranick told MSNBC.
Bine v-am gasit!
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