Former Fire Chief’s Lawsuit Against Flint Can Move Forward

A $10 million lawsuit against the City of Flint and Mayor Sheldon Neeley will move forward following a federal judge’s decision on Monday to let the suit stand.

Former Flint Fire Department Chief Raymond Barton claims he was fired for refusing to lie and cover up the circumstances of the deaths of two children who died in a house fire in May of 2022. In the incident, two Flint firefighters declared a room to be “all clear,” but soon after, other firefighters found 12-year-old Zyaire Mitchell and his brother, 9-year-old Lamar in the same room. Both children were rushed to the hospital in critical condition and died days later.

The lawsuit claims Barton’s investigation found the two firefighters, Sgt. Daniel Sniegocki and firefighter Michael Zlotek, allegedly lied about the incident and recommended their termination. Sniegocki and Zlotek later resigned from their positions. The lawsuit claims Neeley wanted Barton to change the investigation’s outcome. Barton says he refused.

Nine days after the November election, he was relieved of duty after 34 years working for the department.