The firefighters kept their word and met their mission, to protect the property of folks who pay for them, plus the lives of all nearby folks, and they could not have done more under the circumstances even if the guy had 'remembered' to pay his (exceedingly cheap in comparison to other rural fire departments) subscription (after, that is, he got his reminder call when he didn't pay from the notice mailed to him). That subscription pays for the protection gear, equipment and training that lets them save lives, and the insurance which pays their medical if they get hurt on the job; it doesn't come from any county taxes which that overfed farmer paid.
And, the firefighters aren't covered in their health insurance if they fight fires on non-subscriber land. I'm pretty sure that's why the incident commander held them back, for their own safety.
Let's do the math.
It wouldn't have done any good, anyway. It's at least 8 minutes from the fire station to the fire (that far out of town, there are no hydrants, so they have to take a tanker, and tankers are even less like Corvettes than fire engines).
- the time for the farm owner to notice there's a fire and report it,
- the time for 9-1-1 to receive the call and to process it,
- time for volunteer firefighters to hear their pages/siren, drive to station, saddle up and get out,
- plus the time once arrived for the chief to size up the situation,
- unpack the hoses, point them at the point of attack and
- get up pressure,
it's more like 15 minutes from the time the fire is noticed to the time the first water pours onto the fire, by which time, that farmhouse is *toast* under the best of circumstances.
OBTW, I not only spent a few years or so growin' up on a similar farm, but I've been going out to fire scenes at oh-dark-thirty and answering fire calls as a volunteer for my local Red Cross chapter for over eight years. That's where my estimate of added time comes from, experience.
Look at the guy's property, and think.
If you live on a farm, out in the country (his location is marked with yellow circles), common sense dictates not only do you damn well support the folks who just might save your family, life and farm, you also have extinguishers and a high pressure hose and pump so you can put it fire quick and early yourself (like, in case there's a train sitting on the crossing, east of town, blocking the fire truck - look at the railroad tracks, in red, at left - and there's another rail line east of MLK, not shown in this picture).
And, if the county commissioners have been wrangling over this matter for two years, and your son had a fire three years ago (as noted on Countdown), well, you should be even more conscious of the need to spend the cost of a truck tank of diesel for your fire protection.
This is non-news, and I'm disgusted by the lack of common sense in Keith Olbermann's production team. This stuff is supposed to be checked before air, and they had a field producer on the spot with the camera and sound crew. If I can do it from Portland via the web, they darned well could do it in South Fulton.
Shame, shame on msnbc, and the folks who don't think before they open their mouths.