MARION COUNTY, Tenn. — A couple whose car caught on fire on I-24 between Marion and Grundy Counties quickly learned that firemen would not be coming to their rescue over the weekend.
“It was a sight to see. An old woman and old man watching their car burn with nobody there,” said Dakota Tuders, a volunteer firefighter with the Battle Creek Fire Department.
Tuders, who was off duty at the time, said he assisted the couple by flagging traffic past them and calling 911.
According to a report from Tennessee Highway Patrol, they dispatched personnel at 3:15 p.m. Saturday at Mile Marker I-24 140/2 and that a trooper arrived nearly 15 minutes after.
However, Tuders said the couple questioned why there was no fire response.
The nearest response team is Monteagle Volunteer Fire Department.
When reporters with Channel 3, a sister station with WBIR, called Marion County dispatch, an operator confirmed they reached out to Monteagle’s fire department about the incident. They said someone from the department said the department could not respond past mile marker 140.
The operator added that there was no department that covers the gray area between Monteagle and Battle Creek.
Many use the interstate to get to Nashville from Chattanooga and back.
WBIR's other sister station, WSMV, covered the issue in 2016 when a charter bus carrying U.S. Marines was left hanging.
Eddie Haggard, who appears in that story, was unavailable to speak with Channel 3 Monday but gave us the same answer he gave five years go, that the department did not have the funding nor is it in their charter.
There is “no funding” and it is “not in their charter.”
“Monteagle, they are great guys. It's not the firefighters' problems. It’s paperwork. It’s where does this line meet and where does this line end,” Tuders said.
Haggard added he had been to the state several times about his concerns but did not get concrete action steps.