Quoting from the AFA's Bryan Fischer:
A controversy has erupted over a decision by the South Fulton, TN fire department to allow a rural home in Obion County to burn to the ground because the owner did not pay the requisite $75 annual fee to secure fire protection.A lot of people have taken issue with Fischer's spin on this issue, that Jesus would have done the exact same thing as the Tennessee fire department. Check out the comments! Then check out Fischer's spin on the comments. Whatever. I'm an atheist, and Jesus wasn't a fireman. But the basic situation that he's talking about, now THAT'S interesting.
The fire department was called when Gene Cranick’s grandson accidentally set his property on fire, but made no attempt to extinguish the flames, for the simple reason that they had no legal or moral authority or responsibility to do so. When the fire endangered the property of Cranick’s neighbor, who had paid the $75 fee, the fire department swung into action and put out the fire on the neighbor’s property. Cranick’s home meanwhile, burned to the ground after his family had fled for safety.
The back story is that, while South Fulton had a fire department several years ago, the county did not. Rural residents approached city officials and asked them to extend their fire protective services outside city limits. Fine, said the city. We will provide fire services to any rural resident who pays an annual $75 fee. You pay the $75, you just bought yourself a year’s worth of fire protection. You don’t pay the fee, that’s fine too, it’s your choice, but be aware that you are making a deliberate choice to forgo fire protection.
Fine, said Mr. Cranick, I’ll take my chances. He didn’t pay the man his $75, and when his house caught fire, he was on his own, by his own choice.
Conservatives, as a rule, would love to privatize everything. Everything. Try to pin one down some time, ask him or her what government function wouldn't be better privatized. They're even furious with the post office, which practically IS a private business. It's self-supporting anyway.
I'd argue that when you privatize, this is what you get - a yearly fee that is higher than what you pay for the government service (what portion of your county taxes goes to fire prevention, do you think? $75 bucks?) and less efficiency. This truck had to go out the property and wait until the fire threatened neighboring houses, where it could have saved all the real estate on the block. And they could have simply gotten a pledge from the guy to pay up afterward, but that would have disincentivized his neighbors from paying annually.