Deputies Investigate Brawl Involving Local Fire Chief

By: Danielle Sommerfeld Email
By: Danielle Sommerfeld Email

Midway, Florida -- March 30, 2011 6:26 p.m --

A violent scuffle between a Midway homeowner and the city's fire chief ends with a trip to the hospital for the homeowner.

Auburn Ford is trying to recover after what he calls a violent attack from Midway Fire Chief Christopher Lance.

Ford says, "The firefighter had my shovel putting dirt on the smoldering fire. As soon as I turned my back Chris Lance jumped on my back and started choking me, I almost passed out. Both of them grabbed me and we fell into a tree where they skinned the side of my face and pinned me down for thirty minutes."

It all started when the firefighters responded to a trash burn at Ford's home in the Yvette Lakes neighborhood around 9:30 Tuesday night.

Ford Says, "The fire was already out because we started burning at 6 O'clock. We burn out here all the time."

In a police report, Chief Lance claims he told the homeowner there is a no burning after dark rule and the fire had to be extinguished.

According to Lance, that's when Ford actually swung at him...forcing him and two fellow firefighters to wrestle Ford to the ground and hold him there until deputies arrived.

Ford is a ex-law enforcement officer and was treated at the Gadsden ER for his injuries.

The sheriff's office is now investigating.

Midway City Manager, Agatha Muse-Salters, told us Chief Lance was not available to talk with us until the investigation is complete.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Smoke for asthma victim can be deadly on Apr 6, 2011 at 08:18 AM
    You know I am fairly young and in good health, but not everybody is. Smoke can be not just a nusciance but it can be a big health problem, to an elderly neighbor who has heart problems or to a neighbor that has asthma or COPD. It can litterly close thier airways and nobody wants that? If your neighbor is complaining of the smoke, try and be a little understanding. Don't be a a and not put out the fire and then call the media and say you were the one being victimized. I mean that is just not right.
  • by Questions on Apr 6, 2011 at 07:46 AM
    I googled Florida Burning Law, and found FL DOF website. It states burning authorization is not required if the smoke is not a nuisance? Was the smoke a nuisance? Were neighbors calling the fire department complaining? The websit also states burning authorization is not required as long as there are no local ordinance that ban it? Did the local HOA have a ordinance prohibiting the burning? The other thing the web site states is that the fire must be distingished one hour before sunset. Did Mr. Ford do that?
  • by Effective Conflict Resolution on Apr 6, 2011 at 06:28 AM
    Really it sounds like to me that Mr. Ford was at his house antagonizing his home owners administration (HOA) over some fire rule that he thought was not a law, therefore he wasn’t going to be compliant to it. Then, somebody had to call the fire department, because Mr. Ford was acting like a 2 year old. The fire Department, oblivious to all the drama preceding their arrival, innocently shows up because they were asked to show up to help with a fire problem. When an already angry Mr ford sees the Fire Department he then gets all defensive with them ...and honestly they are only there because they were called to be there and would not have been there if Mr Ford had not created the fire problem. . Mr Ford, when you have a conflict with your HOA, You need to address it to the governing party in writing. Not continue to add to the problem by being argumentative, stomping your feet and acting like a two year old. Physically scuffling with the fire department, who then had to call the police department to control you and then calling the media resolves nothing accept to destroy your creditability. Your daughter idolizes you. You need to set a better example in how to handle conflict resolution and this is not it. Write an intelligent letter, attach your supporting documentation to it and copy the governing party on the letter. That is a whole lot more effective.
  • by Questions on Apr 4, 2011 at 09:51 AM
    Who called the fire department? and why? Were there problems going on before the fire department even got there? What were those problems? Were there problems going on between this man and other individuals and the fire department had to be called in because those individuals could not resolve those problems? Who created those problems that they then could not resolve? Why was the fire department called? Was there drama going on before the fire department even got there?
  • by Paul on Apr 4, 2011 at 04:00 AM
    A"trash burn at 9:30 at night" doesn't make a lot of sense. Dumb homeowner probably became irate that someone was telling him what NOT to do.
  • by MIKE T on Apr 3, 2011 at 04:36 PM
    IM SURE THIS IDIOT DID ACT OUT. IT SEEMS THAT WHEN SOMETHING HAPPENS IN GADSDEN COUNTY FINGERS ARE POINTED.
  • by Anonymous on Apr 2, 2011 at 07:07 PM
    We all know that firefighters have a dangerous and sometimes under-appreiciated job, but ever since 911 their egos have over inflated to the point of obnoxious. Get over yourself guys...You chose to do the job now lose the attitude.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Apr 3, 2011 at 04:34 PM in reply to
      suck a egg. every one is not the same idiot
    • reply
      by Question on Apr 4, 2011 at 10:28 AM in reply to
      Wait a minute? Let's look at this? Were thier EGO problems and were those ego problems going on before the fire dept even got out there? What was the problem going on between him and the HOA that is being blogged about?
    • reply
      by Questions on Apr 4, 2011 at 06:08 PM in reply to
      If you feel that way, why do you call them?
  • by Paula on Apr 2, 2011 at 08:18 AM
    Sounds like your dad looks for lawsuits to happen. that's not a "whistleblower." That's a leach on society. I believe the firefighters.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Apr 3, 2011 at 10:36 AM in reply to Paula
      right,,,mr.ford was at his house, mind his business,,,following the laws and wishing that firefighters come over and attack him so he can have a lawsuit. that makes sense paul. a whole lotta sense.
  • by June on Apr 2, 2011 at 12:22 AM
    I am not going to lower my self to any one else level by making insulting comments regardless of the situation! How ever I am going to voice my thoughts.Chris is the most HONEST HARD WORKING MAN I KNOW! He has spent countless hours of Training,fighting fires,and other numerous tasks for MIDWAY FIRE DEPT.To be honest I am sick to death of my husbands name being drug in the mud! Lets get real here people his past keeps getting brought up but i wonder if any one else past gets brought up what we would find? Some just may not have got caught!And yes I will continue to stand by my husband no matter what! So continue to make your comments about what ever but you may want to read them before you post them because some just sound like out of control children.
  • by jj on Apr 1, 2011 at 12:35 PM
    @ Carolyn ,,,I have known your Father longer than you have ,,he has always been a trouble maker ,his mom always took up for him ....I also have worked with your Father ,,he is not the goodie to to you think he is ..and he took after his dad also .. mamy people ,white and black have had problems with your dad,,
    • reply
      by Carolyn on Apr 1, 2011 at 01:07 PM in reply to jj
      @ JJ- you may have known my father longer than I have, but you certainly don't KNOW him better than me. Troublemaker? No, he is a whistle-blower, he doesn't get walked on and he does what he feels is right. You may not like what and how he says things to you, but if you're a big boy, you can handle it. People call others troublemakers when they uncover their indiscretions. Just like many people have had their issues with my father, many have had issues with me and I can guarantee MANY have had their issues with you! So, what's your full name, JJ?
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Apr 3, 2011 at 07:38 AM in reply to Carolyn
        Just because he "feels" it's right, does not make it right... uncovering someone's indiscretions doesn't make one a whistle-blower, but it makes it looks like he is looking for a fight. And being his daughter does NOT mean you really know him, because you are not around him 24/7. Maybe if you, Carolyn, stopped talking down to people, you'll stop revealing that your father is manipulative, demeaning, and a liar... the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. That much we do know. Just keep telling us everything we need to hear!
        • reply
          by Carolyn on Apr 3, 2011 at 10:04 AM in reply to
          You are entitled to your opinions, which doesn't sway me at all because I know and you're on the outside looking in. I don't speak down to people, that is never my intent. However, if you feel as though I am talking down to people, particularly you, that's your issue, not mine. Attempting to insult my father or me speaks on who you are as a person. So sense I have your listening ear, I will say this, Anonymous. See, you're banking that I don't who I am, only because you don't know who you truly are. No one can make you feel manipulated or demeaned, unless you allow them and that only says 1 thing, you lack a sense of you're total internal make-up. There's nothing you can say that will make me question who I am. Negative people are unhappy people. People like you, seek an opportunity to reveal what's inside of yourself. Not only do you NOT stand behind your criticisms by not backing an ounce of it, you do it anonymously. You cower and hide. You're right, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. I am not ashamed or fearful of anything or anyone. I am proud of my father, I love my father dearly, I respect him, and I'll speak highly of the man I know to anyone. One thing I've learned from my family is to fight for myself, to not allow people to mistreat and abuse you. At the end of the day, this has nothing to with me or my dad. There was a violation that was acted upon him when he was assaulted and it needs to be rectified. This is the last time responding to this because it's an unproductive use of my time and energy.
    • reply
      by Carolyn on Apr 1, 2011 at 01:17 PM in reply to jj
      BTW, JJ, your comment about my father not being a goodie two-shoes has no relevance to the news story above. It's just your disgruntlement. It doesn't justify my father being attacked by Chris Lance.
    • reply
      by Questions on Apr 4, 2011 at 06:17 PM in reply to jj
      Mr Ford, you have a daughter that loves you alot. I love my dad a lot. What is important to you?
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