Video: Fire officials tell public to “SHUT UP!” at meeting. See how well that went over…

In extremely local news, Bell County Kentucky fire protection is venturing down the subscription-based model that led to nationwide embarrassment in Obion County Tennessee, twice.

You’ll recall the headlines about firefighters responding to structure fires and standing by while they burned because they property owners had not paid their annual fire protection fee.  The Obion County firefighters were ordered by their administration to NOT take action, placing them in the unenviable position splashed across TV screens all across America.

In December Bell County KY Volunteer Fire Department shuttered two stations and initiated a subscribers fee of $30 per year for vacant land and $150 for occupied land.  The department claims lack of fundage and lack of volunteers, but the County disagrees and wonders where the $6 million of county money given to the non-profit fire department since 1979 has gone.  Until the two stations reopen, the county has cut off any further funding of the County Fire Department.

This is where it gets interesting. 

Daily Fire Fix has done gone mining and struck gold.  They found raw video of a public meeting of the Bell County Fire Volunteer Department in which enraged citizens join in shouting, arm waving, and finger pointing in what appears to develop into an unstructured confrontation of words between fire officials, lawyers and citizens.  At one point police from multiple agencies appear, apparently having been summoned by concerned witnesses, maybe one of the nice ladies sitting up front where the spittle was flying.. 

Check out the audio report on this and other stories over at Daily Fire


Meeting Part One


Meeting Part Two


Meeting Part Three


Other links to this story:

WBIT-TV News Video: Bell County KY Closes Two Fire Stations

WBIT-TV News Video: BCVFD Proposes Subscriber Fee


  • Mick Mayers says:

    Very interesting.

    “Shut up” was, I guess, used in lieu of a gavel. †I use it in meetings from time to time, but the people I use it with are on much more understanding terms with me (the people I work with) and I think they understand it for what it is.

    Without going into the depths of the discussion, this is a very valid point why, when having a meeting with parties who might be angry, or have a different point of view, that you should organize and not try to just let the meeting happen free-form. †Thus the reason why Admiral Robert came up with his “Rules of Order” to begin with, or else every committee and town meeting might also look like this.

    There is a lot of emotion in this meeting and rightfully so, on both sides. †The taxpayers are upset about where the money went (probably into building that station, and paying for apparatus, and fuel, and insurance, and turnouts, and training, and hose, and SCBA, and maintenance – oh, I’m sorry, was I rambling?) and the fire department is defensive (because they haven’t been transparent about their budget, or marketed their organization, or done a great job of prioritizing their expenditures, etc.). †So it is understandable that there is a little bit of friction going on here.

    So from the lessons learned side, what have we learned here? †Feel free to comment back; I’d like to hear what some people say.

    John – thanks for the excellent post. †Definitely a lesson in meeting dynamics. †

  • John says:

    Thanks, Chief.† I was entranced by the “reactionary flow.”† I think we all knew the reaction to the “shut up” would be the instant it was screamed.

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