Dallas Bay Fire Dept responds to West TN incident - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Dallas Bay Fire Dept responds to West TN incident

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Paul Shahen
Eyewitness News Reporter

CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) - Firefighters from the city of South Fulton refused to respond to a blaze outside the city limits. County residents who want fire protection from the city must pay $75 a year. This homeowner had not paid for that protection.

We wanted to know how some local fee-based and volunteer services operated. 

Channel 3 spent the day with Dallas Bay's Station Number 2, they charge $50 a year.

But they said they do not distinguish between payers or non-payers when responding.

"They're all volunteers," said Dallas Bay Fire Department board member Bob Mullin.  "To me it means someone who gives service to it's community without expecting anything in return."

Mullin has seen 67 volunteers and one paid chief exemplify that definition perfectly for as long as he can remember.

Brenda Cross has lived in Dallas Bay for 30 years. She has never seen, and can't imagine, her volunteers refusing to put out a fire.

"I don't think our fire department would ever do anything like that, everybody is so caring, and they're really wonderful guys," said Cross.

She says it's no surprise West Tennessee's incident is sparking national attention.

"I mean how hard do people work for stuff, to see it go up in flames because somebody didn't pay a stupid little bill," Cross added.

Mullin agrees completely, but notes it's a little bill that goes a long way. Because they're volunteers the yearly bill and donations pay for 85 percent of anything the station needs.

"So in order for us to exist, we depend on the generosity of the people of Dallas Bay, and they have been generous," said Mullin

If they cease to exist, the city will pay firefighters to provide the essential service, meaning taxes will go up.

If you refuse to pay, you're not risking a no show, but you may be slowly taking away the right volunteers, like those in Dallas Bay, risk their lives to give you.

Mullin said, "if everyone didn't contribute, if people didn't contribute, we really couldn't exist. We depend on the people, that's the truth."

To put some expenses into perspective for you, for Dallas Bay it costs $8,000 per fire suit, $30,000 yearly for insurance, $25,000 yearly to remain certified, and the list goes on.

That's how important the donations are. When they respond to a house that didn't pay, they will bill the insurance company, but they never get the full amount.

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