Vicky Bell's home was destroyed after fire
© WPSD Local 6Left with nothing: Vicky Bell's home was destroyed after fire ripped through it in on the outskirts of South Fulton, Tennessee - and firefighters did nothing to help
A couple stood helplessly by and watched their home and valuables go up in flames because a team of firefighters refused to help - as they had not paid their 'subscription fees'.

Vicky Bell and her boyfriend managed to escape from their trailer home but did not have time to grab many personal belongings.

Miss Bell, from Tennessee, said the blaze was terrifying - but almost as shocking was seeing fire trucks sitting in the distance and doing nothing to help.

Rural residents who want to be protected by the fire officers in their nearby town of South Fulton must pay a $75 annual subscription.

South Fulton Mayor David Crocker told Local 6 WPSD that if they don't collect fire fees, the fire department can't survive - and if they make exceptions to the rule, no one will ever pay the fee.

However the mayor added that they will always help when people are in danger.

Calls to City Hall officials were not returned to MailOnline at the time of the story being published.

Mayor David Crocker
© WPSD Local 6No exceptions: Mayor David Crocker said if they didn't collect fire fees from rural residents then the department wouldn't be able to operate
The local fire department also refused to comment on the fees.

Miss Bell said she did know about the fees but just didn't think a fire would ever happen to her.

She told local TV station WPSD: '911 said they [the fire department] were in fact dispatched and they showed that they were on the scene.

'You could look out my mom's trailer and see the trucks sitting at a distance.'

On the South Fulton Fire Department website their mission statement reads that 'the mission... is to protect the lives and property of its citizens, and provide good public relations through fire safety education to all businesses and schools'.

October was fire awareness month at the station.

The home of Gene Cranick who also lives outside the city limits, burned down last October.

Mr Cranick said he had forgotten to pay the fee and begged firemen with money to put out the fire but they refused. His three dogs and a cat were killed and Mr Cranick and his wife Paulette lost their home.