published Monday, November 28th, 2011

East Ridge deputy fire chief suspended after loaded gun found by 4-year-old

An East Ridge deputy fire chief was suspended last week after leaving his loaded gun in a bathroom where a 4-year-old found it.

Deputy Chief Mike Flynn, who has been with the department for more than five years, left the gun in a bathroom at Fire Hall 1 on Ringgold Road on Nov. 18, East Ridge City Manager Tim Gobble said.

"He removed his loaded gun and inadvertently left it on the counter and eventually left the premises," Gobble said.

A short time later, another firefighter's visiting son went into the bathroom.

"When the father checked on his son, he saw the boy reaching for the gun on the counter," said Gobble.

When city officials asked Flynn about the incident, he did not dispute the facts, Gobble said. Flynn did not return calls for comment Monday.

Flynn completed his three days of unpaid leave Wednesday, Gobble said. He also will be required to undergo remedial firearms training, which will be conducted by the city's police department.

"Chief Flynn is a good fire chief," said Gobble. "Thankfully, no tragedy occurred."

Gobble said Flynn was authorized to carry the handgun by the Department of Public Safety because he is an arson investigator.

Contact staff writer Kate Harrison at or 423-757-6673.

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jesse said...

when did firemen start carrying guns?

November 28, 2011 at 2:32 p.m.
youngdem said...

If that four year old had been legally allowed to carry his own gun, this wouldn't have happened.

November 28, 2011 at 2:57 p.m.
brokentoe said...

I'd consider a restroom at a fire station as public. Why would any parent allow their child to enter a public restroom without them anyway? My children were allowed into a public restroom alone until they were at least 9 or 10 years of age.

November 28, 2011 at 7:11 p.m.
dude_abides said...

Maybe the city should have safe repositories for firearms in this situation. I would install a gun safe before somebody gets their ass shot (so to speak).

jesse... actually I believe some guy in E.R., a few years ago, started a fire and then started taking pot shots at the responders.

November 28, 2011 at 7:34 p.m.
Loyaljeeper said...

No matter what your opinion is on gun control this is why you teach your children about guns. They need to know they are not toys and that they should not touch them but report them to adults. This very well could have been a gun ditched out a window into a childs playground by a gangster.

November 28, 2011 at 8:26 p.m.
Loyaljeeper said...

No, actually he is a Arson Investigator as well. This is why he would be permitted to carry as he was doing.

November 28, 2011 at 8:45 p.m.
cannonball said...

I didn't know children were allowed to visit a fire station. Got wii too?

November 29, 2011 at 7:27 a.m.
eastridge8 said...

I'm with brokentoe...why would a parent allow a 4 yr old to go to bathroom alone is beyond me...I don't care if it WAS in a firestation!

I bet that fireman won't do that again! And I'm sure his wife will tell him so in no uncertain terms either!

November 29, 2011 at 11:53 a.m.
me1234 said...

well first of all the child was not left in there alone , his father was in thee also someone got there story wrong

November 29, 2011 at 6:04 p.m.
me1234 said...

I would like to be VERRY clear to each an everyone of you that has voiced your opinion in this matter! My son in no way, shape, or form was left unattended in the restroom by himself! Come on people really!!! Before jumping to conclusions the news medeia left that small piece of info out! An it wasnt that firemans fault either, his wife is verry well informed of the events that happened on this day, seeing as i was present! Put your self in my families shoes, my 4yr old child is being slandered by a bunch of people that dont know what their talking about!

November 30, 2011 at 12:26 a.m.
Echo said...

The gun belongs 1) On your person and in a holster or 2) unloaded and in a gun safe or 3) unloaded in a transport case or bag with a trigger or breech lock.

If you don't want your holstered gun to drag you pants down to the floor when you need take a bio-break, wear a shoulder rig.

November 30, 2011 at 6:16 a.m.
rhonda said...

This reporter needs to make a correction in the statement when the father went to check on his son he was reaching for the gun. That didn't happen the father who is my son therefore the four year old is my grandson. Yes they visit the firestation as we all have over the years when you have had family members that have worked there over the years. For one as I recall the restroom doors are fairly heavy I would doubt he could open it and my son and daughter in law do not leave their children in the householdrestroom unattended as they know too much for a child to get into. No one is trying to make trouble just get the facts straight. Yes Mr.Flynn was irresponsible for leaving the gun unattended and luckily my grandson was unharmed. He may be only four but believe me we teach them gun safety as soon as they can talk and understand which he does. And for the comment do they play wii yes they play whatever game indiviuals bring in and have for years while they are not fighting fires and saving lives or training working a 24 hr shift they may have a few hours to relax. So get the facts before you make judgement on others. And to the person with our kids don't go to public restrooms until 9 or 10 I would still be standing at the door at that age not in a stall but listening and watching. So there are the facts of this story which are the truth

November 30, 2011 at 11:49 p.m.
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