Deputies Investigate Brawl Involving Local Fire Chief

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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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