Ex-firefighter facing charges after showing up to fires

HARTFORD, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - A former firefighter is facing charges for showing up at a fire, but it seems there's more to the story.

Officials say last month, 37-year-old Kyle Norden went to the Hartford Fire Department, put on firefighting gear, and drove off in a fire truck.

We're told that after driving around in the truck, Norden showed up to fire calls at two locations.

According to court documents, the man says he thought he was an honorary firefighter, but officials aren't happy with what happened, and he's now facing serious charges.

Hartford Mayor Ted Johnson says he is still trying to make sense of what happened.

"I think it was all in good intent, but unfortunately, it was a bad choice," he said of the incident.

Johnson says that on July 28, Kyle Norden showed up at the fire department, suited up, and hopped into a truck.

"According to the prosecutor, (he) took a truck for a joyride," Johnson said.

Court documents say he showed up, truck and all, to two fire calls in the Hartford area, ready to fight fires.

We found out that Norden resigned from the Hartford Fire Department two years ago, but thought he was an honorary firefighter who could use equpiment and show up at fires.

"We don't know what the insurance company thinks about it," Johnson said. "If he happened to get in an accident with it, that would be more serious than taking a truck."

Arrest warrants were issued Tuesday, on felony charges of impersonating a firefighter, and joyriding.

Newschannel 3 attempted to track down Norden on Friday, and a family member says he has been dealing with mental health issues.

He's currently hospitalized, dealing with alcohol addiction, and depression.

The family member says Norden plans on turning himself in when he's released.

"The department has to be open to a lot of people because of mutual aid," Johnson said. "They have to have access to everything. You can't lock it down."

It took several weeks for some city officials to learn about the incident.

They hope to iron out the communication problems at a meeting next month.