Honestly, not doing anything while they were already at the scene sounds like an aberration to me. There's a point where common sense should take precedence over procedure. I don't like scapegoating but I think the guys present at the time should all be disciplined.
Like Walter said though, the real problem is the system itself, and one way or another it should be changed.
Alright, I think most of us agree the system is broke with subscription fee etc, that much I can agree on. Before I get into it... Just note to that the guy said he "forgot" to pay the fee (like cowtip mentioned) meaning he knew it existed. Well, how long was he not paying this fee for? I didn't see it in the article nor from the original place I heard this story from. But, he could have "forgot" to pay the fee for more than 15 years and that adds up - again I have no clue if he just didn't pay this year or not.. just saying.
SO, like Walter mentioned, someone made the call and ordered those firefighters not to help that resident because they didn't pay the fee. The firefighters are doing their job that there boss told them to do. Directly going against your bosses orders or policies will result in discipline actions or get fired. I don't agree with you at all Aaz that the firefighters should get disciplined. If my boss tells me to do something against my morale or will I will more then likely do it so I don't get in trouble. If it is too much of a morale issue then I'll voice my opinion and/or find another job - that simple. So these firefighters knew
this policy ahead of time and knew
this day would come as part of the job - though I'm sure smaller instances of this has already happened but just didn't make the news. So while that subscription system is stupid and if a better one in place this wouldn't be an issue.
I think that resident got what they deserved for not paying the fees.
They know the risk they take if they don't pay for these services and not prioritizing paying this fee is a critical mistake on his part.. IF in fact he "forgot". These are rules in which he knew ahead of time based on his location of his home. Don't like it? go to some other state and live by their rules.
Three dogs and one cat died in the fire.
I hate to be a romantic sap, but sometimes you have to just do the right thing in the face of a shitty policy. This was a bad decision on the part of whoever was in charge of the firefighters that day. Someone made the call. They had the equipment, they had the water, they had the technical knowhow, they should have done the job and billed them later.
Absolutely agree this is a shitty policy and the person that made the call to those firefighters should have considered the circumstances before he put his foot down. Rules are rules, policies are policies and it would of made logical sense to put out the fire and bill them later - I would of liked that a lot better as far as bending the rules. But if I hurt myself without insurance and have to go to the hospital I can't just call an insurance company while on the way to the hospital then use that insurance to help cover the bill.
Regarding the three dogs and cat that died. It's sad but what Lithrael said was the first thing that came to my mind (they didn't have time to save their pets) - but who knows? things can happen really fast in those moments so I understand. So in order to save those dogs and cats they would have more then likely had to put out the fire and would that of changed if it was a child
inside? You bet. A human life, in our current society, is valued more then these domesticated animals. So if there was a child in that house I would assume they would have done what it takes to rescue it - than again I don't know. Dogs, cats, children can't really fend for themselves in this situation so in this case they didn't make the decision to not pay for the subscription fee (And they didn't make the decision to live with these people or life itself) so I do feel the dog and cats should have been saved (if they weren't already dead by the time they got there) as they can't voice their opinion and are innocent bystanders. (no children died in this, just using it as an example).
With all this being said. I don't wish harm on anyone and the idea of this residents stuff being burnt, and pets dying is horrible. I'm simply saying you better understand your living environment and all the rules that go with it. If you don't then you're the person that put yourself at risk. If you don't like the rules then go find some other place to live. For the most part you have to live by some
type of rule, regulations, policies, taxes.. etc. So for the most part it's best to find a place the rules bother you the least
. That's just the way I see it.