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Public services, the call to duty and empathy for fellow citizens reach a new low in Tennessee. Even craven rich slave owning ancient Romans were not so odious as to offer no relief whatsoever to victims of a fire.
Marcus Licinius Crassus was one of the ten most wealthy historical figures of all time. One of the ways he accumulated his wealth was by organizing one of the first fire brigades in history. When an area of Rome caught fire, Crassus firemen would arrive, not do anything, and would negotiate a price to pay for all the property threatened by the fire. The price would go down by the minute as the fire continued and consumed the buildings and property. Only when property owners agreed to sell at 'fire sale' prices would the 500 man brigade pull down burning structures and put out the fire. Through the use of his fire brigade Crassus became one of the largest property owners in Rome. A few decades after Crassus death in a battle in Syria, Emperor Augustus organized public firefighting teams to serve all of Rome at public expense.
Now to 21st century America. Reported on September, 29, 2010, the fire department of Obion County, Tennessee, although on the scene, refused to put out a fire consuming the home of a family who had not paid the $75 annual fire protection fee to the city of South Fulton. The fire department only showed up when the fire threatened the home of a neighbor who had paid the fee. The home owner involved offered to pay any price to the firemen to save their home, but was turned down. Would this happen anywhere else in the world today except in America? In the 'third world', I doubt it!
The story brings up the question, if there was a person trapped in the home, would the firemen have let them burn too?
The Firefighters Prayer
When I'm called to duty God
wherever flames may rage
give me strength to save a life
whatever be its age
Help me to embrace a little child
before it is too late
or save an older person from
the horror of that fate
Enable me to be alert
to hear the weakest shout
and quickly and efficiently
to put the fire out
I want to fill my calling and
to give the best in me
to guard my neighbor and
protect his property
And if according to your will
I have to lose my life
bless with your protecting hand
my children and my wife.