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Posted on Sun, Jan 9, 2011 : 9:16 p.m.

Chelsea fire captain resigns after being accused of pointing gun at another firefighter

By Lisa Allmendinger

Editor's note: This article has been updated with a comment from Chelsea Police Chief Ed Toth.

Chelsea Fire Capt. Sam Norton resigned Thursday after being accused of pointing an unloaded gun at another firefighter and creating a "hostile work environment."

Norton emphatically denies pointing a gun at anyone during the incident, which occurred more than a month ago. He said he resigned over differences of opinion in how the department should be run.

Norton had been on paid administrative leave since Dec. 15, amid an investigation into several incidents Chelsea Fire Chief Jim Payeur classified as “creating a hostile work environment.” He would not provide additional details about those incidents.

Payeur said he learned of the allegations involving the gun the week before Christmas. He asked the Chelsea Police Department to investigate, but no charges were filed.

"This Department thoroughly investigated, said Chelsea Police Chief Ed Toth.

The incident involving the gun occurred sometime in November, but Norton didn't know the exact date. He said a firefighter brought an unloaded rifle to the station but had it in his car. He asked Norton for permission to bring it inside, and Norton told him he'd like to see it.

Norton said he and other firefighters handled the gun, but he never pointed it at a firefighter who walked into the room. Payeur said several witnesses saw the incident.

“As a command officer, Sam should have known better than to have another firefighter bring a gun into the station," Payeur said. "Then it was reported to me that he pointed it at another human. Loaded or unloaded, the guy walking in the door doesn’t know that, and it made the firefighter feel uncomfortable.”

Norton said there are a number of gun collectors and hunters in the department, and firefighters would periodically bring their guns or bows to the station to show them to the others.

"In the past, like during hunting season, we'd have our hunting equipment with us in the back of the station to keep it safe and warm, and when our shift was over, we'd put it in our cars and leave," Norton said.

Norton — who joined the department seven years ago and had been a captain for 18 months — said that incident was not the reason he resigned.

"We had differences of opinion on how shifts should be run," Norton said, "I preferred a more paramilitary approach like in larger fire departments, and in my opinion the chief had a more relaxed approach."

Ultimately, Payeur said, Norton decided to resign, and “in my book, it ends there.”

Norton is the third firefighter to resign from the department in two months. Lt. Matt Rose left in November following a shift change that resulted in his demotion to firefighter. Lt. Mike Milliken left the department before Christmas for another job.

With Norton's resignation, Derek Klink was promoted to captain, leaving the department with three captains and six firefighters.

Lisa Allmendinger is a reporter with She can be reached at For more Chelsea stories, visit our Chelsea page.


Bob Needham

Tue, Jan 11, 2011 : 3:54 p.m.

A comment, and a response to it, have been removed while we try to verify allegations it contains.

Silver Star

Tue, Jan 11, 2011 : 3:20 p.m.

@robyn very mature of you to forget the s in star. No your original comment was not clear enough for me as I found it very misleading. I am stating that people not doing their job or creating a hostile work environment for their coworkers is a problem, as it would be in any profession and should be dealt with accordingly. You are still speculating on a problem that does not seem to exist. As Mikes wife pointed out above, he left for a better paying job. I commend him for his service and as Mary Beth said congratulate him for putting his family first. Perhaps you would like to pay more taxes so that all of our firefighters could be paid better and not have to seek employment elsewhere? As for the other two, there were clearly personnel issues that lead to their resignations seems like pretty straight forward business to me. Turnover is not uncommon even in the fire service; that they all happened at once is unfortunate. On a side note, I personally have found much of your comments to be a lot of speculation which becomes misleading. Why is it that you seem to want to place blame on everyone but the persons whose actions resulted in them losing their jobs?

Shoe Chef

Tue, Jan 11, 2011 : 1:45 p.m.

@ robyn. Looking at the circumstances, and the fact that the Milliken family has gone on record here, I don't see the loss of three firefighters as anything abnormal. HR situations happen every day at every employer. A fire department is not immune. Had this happened at my workplace, the result would have been different, it would have resulted in an immediate termination. Per the article, Matt Rose was demoted and left. So with Milliken leaving for another job, Rose being demoted and leaving, and this situation, I fail to see how this reflects negatively on the department's management in any way whatsoever. Can you enlighten me?


Tue, Jan 11, 2011 : 12:58 p.m.

@ Silver tar: I didn't say that's how many left... I mere;y cited how many remain. There are 6 firefighters and 3 captains left. Sorry if that was not clear enough for you - the same information is also in the article. Also - are you inferring that the people who left the department didn't want to do their jobs? That they possibly refused to do things they have been trained to do? Just checking - that's how your response reads. @ no one in particular: Everytime an article comes up about police, fire or military it really isn't necessary for everyone to thank them profusely and pretend that there is never a problem in those types of fields. I never see any of you post on articles related to accidents, fires and criminal matters - or veteran matters to say thank you - why make a big effort to do it in this type of article? Is this some strange way of trying say those that see a possible problem are not as 'thankful' as you are so they must be wrong? Sorry - but I do see a problem - the fact that three people have left in 2 months is not good. "Clinging to the old ways" is another put down of people in small communities - as if people in places like Chelsea have been sheltered from the outside world and don't know about technology or the changing world out there. Gosh - I'm connected to you intellectually superior big city people via a computer that has DSL... I even have a real vehicle and no long use the horse and buggy and I've been at least 20 miles away from Chelsea more than once! Really - do you see how condescending that type of statement is? We've always had a good fire department and police department - even when many of the members of those departments were volunteers. That the resignation of three firefighters in a short period of time seems unusual for this particular department IS concerning. But rather than taking it up those concerns with a bunch of people who are NOT even from this community - it's probably best to address these issues here IN the community...

Mary Beth

Tue, Jan 11, 2011 : 12:57 p.m.

Well said Jess. Isnt it sad that Mike's personal life choices had to be defended on a public forum.Let me be the first Mike, to thank you for your years of servive on our Fire department and as your mom commend you for putting your family first. You are a very good fire fighter and always will be.God bless you in your new job.


Tue, Jan 11, 2011 : 11:57 a.m.

Kris, I am not aware of who exactly you are but I thank you. I am Mike Milliken's wife and I want you all to know that Mike Milliken did exactly that, My husband has been working 2-3 jobs for a while to provide for our family, had an opportunity to make more income at 1 job and took that opportunity to spend more time with with us. He is NOT a part of these issues and LOVED his fire job and everyone there...and still does. I appreciate you taking the time to clear an honest man's name. My husband was, is and will always be an amazing firefighter and leader. I am sure not one person can say any differently.


Tue, Jan 11, 2011 : 11:08 a.m.

I have to say (yes, I'm a talker) after reading so much support of the FD posted since I last read this thread last night, I'm even mroe proud to be a part of this small town. There still are people in this world who respect and honor our service members, police military and FD. It's people like Red White and Blue that keep my faith in man kind alive!


Tue, Jan 11, 2011 : 11:06 a.m.

@ Robyn The Chelsea FD has extensive training for their firefighters every single day. The firefighters that are left are incredibly experienced and knowledgeable to assist in any situation. I know that I, for one, have immense faith in the Chief and the remaining staff. I think feeding into the small town stereotype and praying victim to this bandwagon of doubt isnt helping the situation. Bottom line is this: Three firefighters are gone; for their own reasons. None of us will know what their reasoning is, so speculating isnt helping this situation, its making it worse. What we should be doing is supporting the remaining firefighters and letting them know this community thanks them!! How would we feel if debates like this offended our first responders SO badly that they ALL quit to go work for a community that is more appreciative? Then our community would be in a heap of trouble. There are so many cities in Michigan that are laying off firefighters left and right; then when the city needs them (much like Wayne recently did with the furniture store explosion) and the citizens are left without adequate assistance. Chelsea isnt. Actually, someone of the fire fighters that were laid off in Wayne County even responded to the explosion to assist. Hows that for brotherhood. We should be promoting our firefighters to act as such. Brothers! Every morning when they leave for work, they kiss their families goodbye, for what could potentially be the last time, since their lives truly are on the line for us. I cant imagine what it would be like to be in their shoes. But Chelsea isnt missing out on men. And I guarantee since these firefighters have left, shifts have never been without and response times are still amazing. So without an article like this, and the rumor mill of course, none of us would actually know we are missing firefighters. @ Actionjackson, yes next time I will ask for help instead of assume someone will approach me and offer to help. I always offer to help people, partially because it makes me feel good and the other part is because I always think if I dont offer, how will people know Im willing to help. I did manage eventually; I thought outside of the blonde hair and said to myself hmmmm a grocery cart would help a lot LOL @ dinky, well my dear. I guess if the firefighters dont know what they are doing and thinking and feeling, the rumor mill will huh?

Shoe Chef

Tue, Jan 11, 2011 : 10:37 a.m.

STELLAR post Red White, and Blue. You said it all. CAFA is a great organization, and they do a tremendous amount with limited resources.


Tue, Jan 11, 2011 : 9:11 a.m.

@smiles...Next time you're wrestling dog and cat bags at the store think first. They have all kinds of young, strong, men and women that work there that will be glad to help you with it. Even take it out and put it in your car if you ask. There may even be a former fireman that is looking for work that will help you out.

Silver Star

Tue, Jan 11, 2011 : 9:07 a.m.

@dinky what I find more interesting is your comment and your reason for posting it. Would love to know where you hear your information and would advise against listening to gossip.


Tue, Jan 11, 2011 : 8:38 a.m.

I heard 4 FF have left in the past 4 months....and one would rather work at a fast food restaurant than for Chief Payeur.....interesting.

Silver Star

Tue, Jan 11, 2011 : 7:45 a.m.

@Robyn where are you getting that three captains and six firefighters have left? The article only mentions that 3 left recently. By my count the department still had 9 full time firefighters and that is more than several other local fire departments have. The knowledge and experience that left is irrelevant if they are not willing to perform their jobs in an appropriate manor, or have an out of control ego, or have made the decision to pursue another career. All your comments are pure speculation and unfair to a respectable organization. I want to say thank you to all the hardworking firefighters and police officers that serve our community. Your service and sacrifices are often taken for granted.


Tue, Jan 11, 2011 : 7:33 a.m.

I can say that I've known a number of firefighters, both past and present, from the Chelsea station. Most of them have been professional and trustworthy. There are those on the other hand who I wouldn't trust in the least. Chelsea is a growing communnity, and it is experiencing growing pains. In the case of the CFA there are those that still cling to the "old ways". There are some that feel that they are "entitled" (for lack of a better word) simply because they've been there a long time. Sure, maybe 20 years ago bringing your new hunting rifle into work to show your buddies wasn't a big deal, but in the real world today it is. Sam Norton showed a serious lack of judgment by allowing the other officer to bring his rifle into the station. To justify it with the claim that we've always allowed it, just doesn't fly. It used to be fine to make lewd comments to women and tell racial jokes too, but that doesn't make it right. Loaded or not, it appears that the rifle was being handled in a way that had it pointed in the direction of a doorway where anyone (in this case another officer) walked in. I've never had a hunter safety course but common sense tells me that this is not a safe way to handle a gun. The call to arms over the alarmingly high turnover rate? I'm sorry but this is pretty normal from what my friends at the station have told me. Just because it was pointed out in this news story it has called attention to itself. The CFA is a professional organization, staffed by mostly professional firefighters. Unfortunately, it only takes a few to tarnish the entire force, especially with it's checkered past.


Tue, Jan 11, 2011 : 1:47 a.m.

seems like the chelsea fire dept has a few immature people in it.If I dont get my way I'm quitting.Plus its never a good idea to bring guns to work.


Tue, Jan 11, 2011 : 12:24 a.m.

@ smiles: I'm not concerned about the quality of the fire department or the police department - I'm concerned with three people leaving in the period of two months. Three captains and six fire fighters... That's one quater of the fire department - gone. 25% of their entire department. We are not a tiny community with other communities that also have fire stations within minutes away... The area they serve is not limited to just the city limits. The loss of three of their fire fighters - and who know WHAT knowlede and training is gone with them is a reason for concern. @ whomever stated: If a gun was pointed at you... Guess what - I've walked into a room where someone was looking at a gun and they just so happened to be pointing it in the direction I entered the room from... I didn't freak out and think they were trying to threaten or kill me. I moved out of the line of fire - because that's the normal and logical thing to do. Of course - if I was paranoid I'd probably call the police and demand that the person holding the gun be taken straight to jail - without an investigation or trial... But that's just not how it works...

Silver Star

Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 8:20 p.m.

Very well said Red White & Blue!! You have made a lot of good points to think on. There are a lot of people posting comments here that seem to have personal agenda or vendetta against local authorities, rather than looking at things objectively! There is not always a conspiracy! No need to make a mountain out of an ant hill in this case.


Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 8:13 p.m.

As a resident of Chelsea, I am most certainly NOT worried about the firefighters at the station unlike some of the Chelsea residents who have posted here. I am PROUD of our firefighters. As someone who has needed their assistance once before, am thankful to have the group of men that is employed there responding to my area. They are always friendly, always willing to educate our community (something most communities dont have the privilege of having) and respond quickly. I dont think that they are thanked enough, actually. Anyone who willingly puts their life on the line to potentially save someone in my family, or anyone elses family, is obviously a stand up human being. And considering my experience at the local grocery store today fumbling cat litter and dog food with my little self and NOT one person asking if I needed help, Im happy to see stand up people in the little town of Chelsea. Bottom line is this: Norton RESIGNED from his position for unrelated reasons. He wasnt fired. So stop worrying about petty details as to why the other involved is still employed. Just be thankful you have first responders at your service should you need it. Lord forbid we all fall into the media trap by falling for their bait. The article is written to grab your attention and possibly portray the truth in a different light for entertainment purposes. In all honesty, I had a long response written out but then I read what Red White & Blue posted and I have to say; impeccable. Took the words right off my fingertips. To avoid being redundant (and spculate-which is all most of you have done in these comments is speculate), THANK YOU CHELSEA AREA FIRE AUTHORITY for all you do, and THANK you to the people who have served in the past. Good luck in all you do and youre ALL in my prayers.


Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 7:51 p.m.

I think a couple of people have voiced the same concern over and over....why have 3 people left that dept in the past few months? Fire dept jobs are very hard to come why would you just leave a full time fire position that you are an officer at?!

Rod in Chelsea

Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 7:28 p.m.

I agree with you Zip the Cat. And Honestly Amazed........I am done with you. Any time a gun is pointed at someone loaded or unloaded is a criminal offence. I don't care what Toth says. Toth is only concerned with covering his own butt.

Red White & Blue

Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 7:27 p.m.

It amazes me that one detail of this article seems to have escaped pretty much everyone's attention. That is the investigation centered around SEVERAL incidents "creating a hostile work environment" of which the chief provided no further details. I am sure there is good reason at this point that more cannot be said. I am apalled at those who would bash Chelsea P.D. when their only job is to investigate. If you know anything at all about criminal investigations you would know that a report is taken, an investigation is conducted and, provided the complainant is WILLING to PROSECUTE and the EVIDENCE supports the claim, it is then submitted to the prosecutors office for their review. Certainly because a prosecutor cannot authorize on a specific complaint does not mean that the complaint has no validity. Think about this, if someone at your work threatened to harm you and all your other co-workers say "yes I saw the incident and knew there was an altercation but I could not say for certain what was said". Does the lack of clear supporting evidence granting the ability to prosecute mean that the incident did not take place?? Of course not!! And would you not want your boss to take your complaint seriously and to make an informed decision based on any and all incidents where the person making the threats was involved? The bottom line is the Chief's job is to make informed decisions based on what is good for the community and the department as a whole; not what is easy, comfortable or necessarily well received in the community. I would venture to guess that part of an informed decision would involve consulting a labor attorney throughout the process - pure speculation on my part of course. Regardless, I think in this case Chief Payeur did what needed to be done and turned it over to the police department having jurisdiction, which would be Chelsea P.D. A department that proudly and efficiently serves this community. They potentially put themselves in harms way for our benefit every time they report for duty. We do not thank these men and women enough! I agree with other commentors that the gun had no business being brought into the station in the first place. I can hardly wrap my thoughts around someone even remotely thinking that it would be ok to do so in this day and age. Captain Sam Norton's comments lead me to believe he is a hunter and as such he would have taken a Hunter Safety course at some point in his life. Isn't the first rule of hunter safety that you do not aim or even point the gun in the general direction of other humans, nor position it in such a manner that someone could inadvertently walk into its path? As for "people leaving the department left and right" as one comment suggests. Apparently Lt. Matt Rose resigned rather than receive a demotion (which indicates a job performance problem of some type)... hmmm no ego there!!?? Lt. Mike Milliken left to take another job and since he wasn't facing a demotion or being investigated, according to the article, it was apparently a personal choice he made. I do not think it is fair or reasonable to speculate or read anything into that, period. Norton says he did not resign due to the gun incident. He notes that he had "differences of opinion" on how things should be run. To that I say "grow up, your ego is out of control"! Let's see... not sure of your age but you have 7 years experience on the department, 18 months of that as Captain and you know better than your fire chief? A person I am sure that has many more years of proven leadership and fire fighting experience or he would not be where he is. My take: If you are humble enough to know where you stand in the pecking order you say and do/take actions that are within your company's policies and your bosses directives. In reality it in your own best interest to do so because it is reflected in your job performance. Everyone of us is free to leave an employer for whatever reason we can justify to ourselves. ARROGANCE and EGO...both come with blinders and they will always lead you down a slippery slope.

honestly amazed

Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 7:21 p.m.

Rod, the Chelsea Standard also posted an artical in regards to this issue and here are two KEY sentences you should read! Both Payeur and Chelsea Police Chief Ed Toth were adamant that the incident was not criminal in nature. We were called to the fire department to look into something they brought to our attention and determined it was more of an internal situation than any crime, Toth said.

honestly amazed

Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 7:08 p.m.

Rod, there were several people in that room looking at this weapon, truth be told not one of them saw the weapon pointed at this other fire fighter that made the alligations. Further more this person whom he apparently pointed a gun at never pressed charges. The Police can not look past this situation unless they believe that there was a hidden agenda by the person making the claim. Further more the individual who brought the gun is STILL employeed with CAFA and did not recieve any disciplinary action. I repeat there were several firefighter in this room and not one of them could prove this happened. Also with you commenting the way you are I believe is unprofessional! Being in the position of authority perhaps you should look into the REAL reason all of these fire fighters are leaving CAFA. Look into the paid on calls leaving and take a look at who is truly forcing these honest individuals out. There are more issue then just the issue with Mr. Norton facing this department, as a person of authority why don't you stop reading about this in the new paper and actually DO YOUR JOB!

Rod in Chelsea

Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 6:26 p.m.

Honestly amazed.........I am!! Had that gun been pointed at you, you would have DEMANDED that the person go to jail! Had he not, you would have been in such an uproar!! Get real..........Norton should have been put in jail and the police chief needs to be called to task for not doing so!

honestly amazed

Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 6:14 p.m.

I am totally amazed at the mob mentality that has been shown by some on this issue. In answer to Rod, I fervently hope you are not anyone who is in a position of authority or any position that allows you to impact decisions made for our community at large. Aside from the fact that we are still a country of innocent until proven guilty and the fact that Mr. Norton has not been proven guilty of anything, you seem bound and determined to start a witch hunt. I can't help but wonder if maybe you have a personal agenda in all of this. So for the sake of all, lets simplify. An accusation was made several weeks after an alleged incident. The allotment outcome was the resignation of a fire fighter who had been cleared by the police department. If, as Chief Payeur claims, his remaining staff felt a hostile work environment, why was the incident not reported to the chief immediately. If indeed there were several "witnesses" as Chief Payeur claimed, why did not one of them feel the need to report this supposed threat immediately??? I am sorry but this sounds like immature story time by someone (or someones) looking to prosper from a spot vacated by others. Maybe it was instigated with budget issues in mind since it is to my understanding Chief Payuer will not be filling these spots. And just maybe the others that left, left because they did not want to participate in back room politics that destroy innocent people in order to advance their own careers.


Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 5:51 p.m.

I will say - as a resident of Cjhelsea - that I am concerned about what seems to be a problem in our fire department. These guys are important to our community - not just as the people who are called in an emergency - but they stand for the stability of the community and the safety in this community.

Shoe Chef

Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 5:08 p.m.

Maybe a secondary investigation should focus on the Chelsea P.D. Why wasn't this investigated by the State Police? Seems a bit too-cozy if you ask me. This is a SMALL town, everybody knows everybody else. You can't tell me that there would not be favoritism shown between those departments. are right. I would have been thrown in jail too. Brandishing a weapon is a crime. How could this not be a crime? Paid leave? I'd gladly take a multi-week paid vacation from work.

Rod in Chelsea

Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 4:47 p.m.

I am amazed that my comment was removed. All I did was tell the truth. Why was the guy that pointed the gun put on PAID leave during an investigation? If that had been you or I, we would have been thrown in jail immediately! Why was he not thrown in jail? Maybe because the Chelsea Chief take care of their own at the expense on it's citizens they are PAID to protect? Why was the firefighter NOT thrown into jail???


Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 3:53 p.m.

The one red flag that should be waving in all Chelsea residents faces after this is the simple fact of why is Chelsea losing guys left and right? Was the catalyst for this resignation a poor choice? Sure, but as always it seems as if there is more behind the scenes to this than you can read in a paper. And no criminal charges were filed either so from a law breaking standpoint it couldnt have been too criminal. Firefighters just dont walk away from the job usually. If you are a Firefighter, youre doing it because of the inner calling. It sure as heck isnt the pay. For some reason, City/Township/Village Managers and residents just dont seem to either care or notice when folks leave the job. Doubt it? There are many examples all over this area that with a little digging or talking to those in the know. And it starts at the top. At one time, Fire Chiefs used to all be what the public thought; Leaders of Firefighters, always looking out for their crews, and doing what is in the best interest of the Department all the while standing as a symbol of good. Nowadays, sadly, most are puppets for the managing Government or unable to let go of the one power position they may hold in their lives. The good ones on the other hand are being forced out the door to make room from someone willing to put the puppet suit on. Theres a problem in Chelsea. It seems to be simmering below the surface, but the ripples are there and something stinks. But dont expect anything done about it unless someone or may folks starting asking hard questions. When the managing body are the ones that brought the Fire Chief in, do you really expect any changes to be made which would put egg on their faces?


Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 3:31 p.m.

From the article: The incident involving the gun occurred sometime in November, but Norton didn't know the exact date. He said a firefighter brought an unloaded rifle to the station but had it in his car. He asked Norton for permission to bring it inside, and Norton told him he'd like to see it. Norton said he and other firefighters handled the gun, but he never pointed it at a firefighter who walked into the room. Payeur said several witnesses saw the incident. As a command officer, Sam should have known better than to have another firefighter bring a gun into the station," Payeur said. "Then it was reported to me that he pointed it at another human. Loaded or unloaded, the guy walking in the door doesnt know that, and it made the firefighter feel uncomfortable. ------------------------------------------------------------- Okay - from THAT sketchy information it sounds to me like people were looking at the gun (unloaded) and someone walked in to the room and the guns just so happened to be pointed in that direction. That's NOT the same as picking up a gun and sighting in on someone or something.... I've handled guns on more than a few occasions - picking one up and holding it, looking down the barrel/sight - if someone WALKS IN FRONT of that gun - you really can't say I was aiming at them. But I'm sure if you want to be dramatic enough - you can certainly say it was pointed at you - intentional or not.


Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 3:26 p.m.

I don't think Norton is the one who actually brought the gun...Did the person who brought it have to resign?


Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 1:37 p.m.

Guns have their place and one of them is not to "stay warm" at work in preparation to go out in the cold and hunt. Or maybe the Beatles were correct "Happiness is a warm gun...." To point any weapon, loaded or not at a co-worker should result in exactly what has taken place. Former co-worker has no reason to wonder what to expect next if the gun toting pal was allowed to stay.

Shoe Chef

Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 1:07 p.m.

robyn...never thought of it that way. Sad situation all around, I guess. I can't imagine that anyone bad mouthing their chief would bode well for future career prospects in that field. I hire at my work, the first thing I do is google a name. Bottom line, thank you to all of our hard-working men and women that keep us safe. While many comments in this thread do conflict, I think we can all agree we owe them all a huge debt. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.


Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 12:52 p.m.

I think that it is very odd that three long time firefighters have recently resigned. I also think that people are accusing Norton of something wrong. If it is past practice to show guns off and to have them in the station, then he should not be blamed for something that has been allowed. Further if he was showing off the guns that means there were wittiness at the time of the alleged crime, right? If the police investigated it they would have talked to all party's involved. Because there were no charges pressed I would have to say he was exonerated from the alleged crime. Also this happened November, long before the AZ incident, so while tragic, that has nothing to do with this incident. Seems to me the Chief did not like Norton's recommendation's on what he thought of the department and pushed the issue.


Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 12:35 p.m.

@ Shoe - Maybe he wanted the shift, training and duty requirements/rosters to be more in line with the larger departments... It's impossible to determine just what changes he wanted without actually asking him. Also - working at a fire department is much different than working in other types of jobs. The type of work and training and cross training are not like any other job out there. I can see where it would be essential to keep people with specific types of training on duty during each shift. With a smaller department - that may not be possible unless it was like larger departments that employed more people who have various types of certifications. Many larger departments also have training programs that are on going and the employees must be recertified periodically to make sure they are able to perform their duties at the highest standards. This would be very important as these people can make the difference between life and death for those they are called to help. That said - those thypes of changes do not have to change the atmosphere or the environment of the station - they simply change the ability to be as professional in their dutues as possible.


Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 11:34 a.m.

This also doesn't state the punishment that was given to the fire fighter that actually brought the gun into the station. Norton might of allowed it in but who brought it??

Shoe Chef

Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 11:31 a.m.

robyn...Mr. Norton claimed that he wanted the department run more like larger cities. Wouldn't that indicate he should abide by a tougher standard than the "good ole boys" network, which he clearly stated he didn't like? Foolish. If I was the employee who was aimed at, I would personally be pressing charges.


Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 11:18 a.m.

If you want your fire department run well maybe you should go to the source to find the problem. Pretty sure the artical states he was paid for his time while off. Our taxes are being wasted because they can't hold on to the employees they have! Wonder how their budget looks now.


Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 11:16 a.m.

Wow - there are some pretty strong replies to this topic... He's lucky to be alive if he brought a gun into the fire station, after this weekend anyone should be upset about a gun being pointed in their direction. Ummm - this incident took place back in November - not this past weekend. Chelsea isn't Ann Arbor - those that serve on the fire department are part of this small community and are well known by the community. It's not as if some person that is virtually unknown and working randomly brought in a gun for no reason. As stated in the article - many of the guys there hunt and brought their hunting equipment into the station, not a big deal. The article seems to assert that Mr. Norton left because of the gun incident - which is NOT confirmed by the Chief. Mr. Norton also stated that this was NOT the reason he left. Nor does the article really say who created the hostile work environment or toward whom the hostility was aimed. I do have to wonder though - three people left the department in a relatively short period of time. Why would that be the case? Maybe it has more to do with those that have stayed than those that have left...


Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 11:16 a.m.

Isanopinion I very much so agree with you. Norton had 7 years and Milliken had 6, isn't it even more interesting that it says Milliken left for another "job" This also just is there full time firefighters they are talking about. I wonder how many of their paid on call have left! I think if you want to write an artical you should find out why these three men really left.

Shoe Chef

Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 11:11 a.m.

What kind of out-of-control ego would openly and publicly question or bad mouth your chief? Seems like career suicide in a field as small as fire fighting. Not to mention bringing a gun into work. If I did that for ANY reason,I would be fired on the spot, not paid for three weeks to determine if it is wrong. Good job, Chelsea. We pay enough property taxes that we should have a stable fire department and not worry about those paid to protect us.


Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 10:05 a.m.

Why does Chelsea need or want paramilitary firefighters? Why is a paramilitary work environment necessary for firefighters discipline, professionalism and unit cohesion? This situation sounds more like a "good old boy" show and tell and shouldn't be part of a firefighters professional work environment. There's no good reason to bring private weapons into the firehouse. If a firefighter wants to hunt before or after work, they should keep their weapons at home or in their care, leave work, get the rifle and go hunting. Convenient access to your personal weapon isn't necessary for firefighters. The excuse of bringing your weapon into a public building for safe keeping is unacceptable. This is a public building. Guns that are accessible to anyone inside the firehall is just asking for trouble.


Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 9:35 a.m.

I am pretty sure the article says he was accused of pointing the gun at someone. Everyone on here automatically is assuming he did. The article states that Norton denied ever pointing the gun at anyone and that the police investigated and would not file charges. I think it is safe to assume that the police found that the gun was never pointed at anyone otherwise they would have charged Norton. Also why did the other two officer resign as well?

zip the cat

Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 9:24 a.m.

He's very very lucky he is still alive to resign. With the new laws on the books in michigan pointing a gun at someone loaded or not is grounds to get killed. Anyone who feels that there life is in danger of being taken or great harm is about to be dealt upon them can,without any recourse use whatever force they deem appropriate to quell the threat,including killing them,House Bill #5143 oct 2006 I can't fathom that they have such a law on the books.!


Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 8:52 a.m.

sounds like to many cheifs and not enough indians to me. I n reference to AZ, they''l blame it on the gun. If they would punish these people who committ crimes instead of reabilitating and releasing the there wouldn't be a problem.


Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 8:13 a.m.

Since when do you bring a gun into the work place? It seems like common sense would suggest that the gun is best left in car or even at home. Not a very wise play on his part.

Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball

Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 7:27 a.m.

You can never know what situation you will face when called to an emergency. If a first responder can not handle a gun environment - they should consider another career. Be careful out there.


Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 6:18 a.m.

I sure wish someone would report the real reasons these officers have resigned. Career firefighters don't just randomly resign from ethically run departments.


Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 5:38 a.m.

After the horror in Az this weekend, I would feel more than uncomfortable if someone pointed a gun at me. Common sense gun owners know that you don't point a gun at ANYONE unless you have to hold them...or shoot them.


Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 1:33 a.m.

We would never want to make a firefighter "feel uncomfortable". That would be awful.