An entire D.C. fire station in Northwest was taken out of service Thursday after the fire chief walked into the station house and discovered a case of beer in the refrigerator.
Chief Kenneth Ellerbe tells WTOP and ABC7 he immediately ordered Engine 9 out of service and had 15 firefighters and EMTs undergo alcohol testing at the department's clinic.
"I was a bit dismayed, shocked, surprised," Ellerbe says about his discovery. "Our older members should have known better."
Ellerbe says all of the personnel tested negative for alcohol and have been allowed to return to duty, but the incident remains under investigation and the station's command staff is facing disciplinary action.
"There will be some consequences for this." Ellerbe says. "We want to send a strong message we take public safety very seriously."
Things were back to normal at Engine 9 Friday morning. The station, located in the 1600 block of U Street NW, was out of service for less than two hours, according to Ellerbe.
"Coverage was not compromised," the chief says.
Ellerbe says it appears the beer was a gift from some grateful residents, but command staff should have known better than to accept it.
"We can't have this kind of behavior," he says, adding that some staff members are facing possible suspensions. "The command staff will be appropriately reprimanded."
A lieutenant in the D.C. fire department is recovering from leg surgery after being injured by a fire truck.
The lieutenant was helping to guide a truck back into a fire station when his leg became pinned between the tire of the truck and an immovable object. Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe says the incident appears to be a case of "operator error" and a lack of "paying attention."
The lieutenant's injuries are serious, but Ellerbe says the firefighter is expected to return to duty.
The incident is under investigation.