N.Y. Village Suspends Chief for Responding after Drinking Beer

At least five Elbridge firefighters have quit in protest of losing Chief Bill Champlin.


Elbridge Fire Chief Bill Champlin was suspended by village officials for responding on a call within eight hours of drinking a beer.

Now, at least five firefighters have or say they're going to quit, and that worries the village supervisor, according to the Syracuse Post-Standard.

The village owns the equipment and fire house, and the elected officials sit as the fire commissioners. 

Champlin admitted that he had a beer with family and then several hours later stopped at the fire house to speak with firefighters, Niel Rivenburgh who had been a captain in the department until his resignation Monday, told reporters.

While he was there, an emergency call to aid a bicyclist struck by a vehicle on Route 5 came in and the chief responded, the paper reported.

"That's the infraction. Responding to a call four or five hours after dinner and a beer. What's happened since then is the travesty. How he got accused of it is a travesty. What's going on now is a travesty," he told reporters.

A review panel ruled that Champlin can return but not as chief. He can run for the position again in the next election in April 2014.