Fire crew sits idly by as resident faces blaze is the headline of a News-Leader story. That's right, the fire crew watched the guy try to put out a fire which burned down his garage and destroyed a vehicle because he didn't pay membership dues.
The Monett Rural Fire Department responded to the scene but did not fight the fire. Firefighters stood by as the fire burned itself out, watching in case the flames spread to neighboring properties owned by members.
"People need to realize you've got to become a member. If you live outside the city limits, you need to join one of the rural fire departments," Myers said.
Rueda offered to pay, Evenson said, but the Monett department does not have a policy for on-the-spot billing.
Randy Cole, assistant state fire marshal, said there was no state law requiring membership-supported fire districts to help nonmembers in any situation.
However, state law says those departments may perform services for a nonmember if they choose, and then charge the nonmember based on a set amount outlined in statute, Cole said.
It's unfortunate that Mr. Cole and the Monett Rural Fire Department require a law to enforce what common courtesy would call for.