WHAT: Rural Tennessee firefighters allowed a house to burn to the ground because the homeowner hadn’t paid a $75 fee. Gene Cranick and his family lost all their possessions, along with three dogs and a cat.
WHY: A nearby town offers fee-only fire protection to rural residents. Cranick “forgot” to pay the annual $75 fee. When he told a 911 dispatcher he would pay whatever it cost to have the fire put out, his offer was refused.
WHAT HAPPENED NEXT: Firefighters eventually showed up to fight the fire from spreading to the neighboring property, whose tenant had paid the fee. Police arrested one of Cranick’s sons on suspicion of aggravated assault on the fire chief.