Looks like I have old, unpublished posts around, so here ya go.
I got called heartless and told I have "no empathy" because I wasn't outraged that a rural fire department didn't put out a house fire at the home of a woman who didn't pay for those services. One thing that came up was the fact that the firefighters bothered to show up, then watched and let it burn. The question at hand was why bother to show up at all if you're just going to watch it burn?
It's simple. You pay for services, those services are provided. You don't pay for them, you don't get em'.
I could be wrong here, but it seems to me that firefighters have an obligation to show up even though the woman had not paid the fee. This is for two reasons, and it's not to be assholes, as the person who called me heartless would contend. One, while they are willing to let property burn, they are not willing to let a family die in their home over a $75 fee. This means they show up, ensure that people are safe, and then proceed no further. Two, they have to show up to the call to ensure that adjacent property / homes (who have paid the fee) are protected.
Keep in mind that in this case we have a municipal, taxpayer funded fire department that essentially contracts its services out to those outside of its municipality. You wouldn't expect the municipal taxpayers who fund the department to pay for the fire department to fight fires elsewhere, would you? Would that even be practical or financially sustainable? No. It makes perfect sense that the city fire department would be limited fighting fires within its jurisdiction, except as provided by other contractual agreements.
Here's the bottom line. Vicky Bell lived in an area without fire protection. A neighboring city expanded their coverage outside of the municipal limits, for a flat fee of $75 / year. Vicky Bell was aware of this and chose not to pay the fee. Do I wish she had not lost her house? Do I wish her community had a volunteer fire department of its own? Sure.
I empathize with her situation because, well, it sucks. Still, it's her own damn fault.
"Bell and her boyfriend admitted they were aware but thought this would never happen to them."
H/T to Uncle