Friday, February 24, 2006

News-Leader offers in-depth look at Monett incident

The actions of rural fire departments have come under closer scrutiny since Monett rural firefighters refused to help a Hispanic man save a garage building that was on fire last week, standing by in their units as he fought the blaze with just one bucket.
Today's Springfield News-Leader features an in-depth look at the incident.
The only thing lacking in the News-Leader story, through no fault of the newspaper, is an explanation from either the fire department or the ambulance workers about these accusations.
As they say in the vernacular, the fire department has "lawyered up."


Fire Marshal Bill said...

It's a brilliant decision by a bunch of knuckleheads who are now going to be spending all their "dues" on legal fees when this poor guy files two lawsuits; one based on negligence and the other on a civil rights violation. The costs are going to go up when the News-Leader sues them when they don't hand over their policy on time. Dumbasses. Hey Randy, did I miss your take on the 7th Appeals Court decision to allow universities to censor student newspapers?

MAMBO said...

Is this how "fee for service" fire departments now conduct business? Look up the "Gilded Age". Maybe this is what Rep. Roy Blunt means by recently proclaiming this to be a "Democrat-free zone". I used to think of firefighters as people dedicated to finding the fire, putting it out and then addressing the remaining issues. Not so anymore in this age of corporatism. Money does matter more than people is seems. How tragic.

Anonymous said...

Am I under the correct understanding that what they could have/ should have done was to put the fire out and then bill the owner for the entire bill instead of what the dues would have been? It makes more sense. The department would make more money and since there is a burn ban and severly high fire danger the would have decreased the risk for the fire spreading. Do they realize how lucky they are that embers did not cause a grass fire that could have gone out of control? This was complete stupidity on the depts. fault. Sometime people, especially ones who receive at least partial funding from taxes, need to have compation and do the right thing not follow whatever stupid policy some money maker has dreamed up.

Cubby said...

These rural districts are funded by dues. When I first moved to rural SW Mo from the city my neighbors were certain to inform me of that fact - my insurance agent may have also. It's my understanding that the rural FDs can bill the landowner if he/she isn't a dues paying member. The question about that is: can they collect? Will they have to sue for the fees or can they file a mechanics lien against the property? I would think a lien would be effective, insuring the bill was paid before a loan for rebuilding or purchase was made. The question about this particular incindent is: Was this man treated differently due only to his ethnicity? Since he is from a different culture and not fluent in English, he probably didn't understand the system. Monett was an overtly racist town 40 years ago, but I honestly thought they'd grown out of it - maybe I am naive. It seems to me the state statute that provides for the charging of fees by these subscription departments should be amended to give them an effective way to insure they're paid for their work and risk. They can then be held to a higher standard regarding who they will help, and they're areas of responsibility probably need to be delineated geographically in addition to by membership.