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Mich. chief fired amid discord over 2 boys’ deaths in house fire

“It wasn’t that I retired on my own. I was fired,” said former Flint Fire Chief Raymond Barton


By Leila Merrill

FLINT, Mich. — Former Flint Fire Chief Raymond Burton said Friday that he was fired.

“I was fired… it wasn’t that I retired on my own. I was fired,” former Flint Fire Chief Raymond Barton told WWMT.

Barton said he thinks his termination is related to the deaths of two boys from a house fire that was said to be “all clear.”

It was later discovered that two Flint firefighters falsified reports and lied about checking all the rooms in the house.

The ex-chief suggested that the firefighters be fired, but the mayor had them put on paid leave instead. They both resigned.

“I told him I felt like this was because I wouldn’t lie,” Barton said. “I wouldn’t say the final decision on the incident that happened on Pulaski Street fire was mine.”

Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley said that was not the reason.

Barton served as chief for 6 years.

Nicholas Kendrick, the local union president, also said he disagreed with how Barton handled the Pulaski fire, which Barton still stands by.

“They felt that I should have been out there publicly saying the Pulaski fire had nothing to do with race, which it didn’t have anything to do with race. The firefighters missed the kids, it wasn’t intentional but they refused to admit they made a mistake,” he said.