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

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

November 28th, 2011 by Kate Harrison Belz in Local - Breaking News

East Ridge Deputy Fire Chief Mike Flynn

Photo by Tim Barber/Times Free Press.

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 kharrison@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6673.