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DC fire chief speaks. Chief Ellerbe talks at length about fleet problems on live TV this morning.

DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

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Previous coverage here, here & here

As you will see in the video below with reporter Kristin Fisher of WUSA9.com, DC Fire & EMS Department Chief Kenneth Ellerbe was not in a talkative mood yesterday when asked about burning ambulances and Medic 1 running out of gas in a Presidential motorcade. This morning he was talking about all of those issues and more, live on WTTG-TV/Fox 5 (above). As the anchor team points out, the reporter he had been avoiding from the same TV station, Paul Wagner, was waiting for the chief when he got off the air.

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Comments - Add Yours

  • fmch

    That was uncomfortable to watch. LRB kept smirking. I’m not sure that’s a good thing.

    The fact that the Ambo/Medic crew didn’t fuel the truck is going to allow LRB to deflect and then place the thought that the union is responsible for a lot of the issues…. not saying they are, but I can see where he’d try to go that route.

    Hang in there brothers and sisters.

  • ShamrockDriver

    IMO the Chief was served up softballs. A few questions were not so good for him but when he gave the “political” answers there was no follow-up. I don’t know how the ins and outs of the reporting industry work. Maybe the TV news was happy to have an exclusive with the Chief and is hoping for more since they were way to kind, IMO. When you are inclined to, Dave, I’d like your take,on my view of the TV news not really getting meaty answers or seeking them.

  • Michael Gove

    The sad thing is that Chief Ellerbe doesn’t understand that his people are under the same stress as his equipment.

  • Ted

    If it takes a year to get new ambulances, your procurement process or your vendor/builder (or both) is very inefficient.

    Secondly, did anyone else sense that the reporters appeared nervous and intimidated. They acted like they were being forced to question their best friend / family member. Did someone tell them to be gentle and not make LRB mad?

    • Nat Turner diaries

      Its called professional courtesy which alot of you lack

  • anonymous

    The reason the ambulance fleet is in such disarray is because LRB did not properly utilize the replacement program and because the fleet maintenance division is awful. With all of his training and experience (and institutional knowledge of the DC Fire/EMS), this is totally unacceptable. It’s because LRB is incompetent, and because he is too busy concentrating on his BS agenda that the real running of the FD gets put aside.

    He brags about how he was the first fire chief to visit the ambulance vendor. The others didn’t have to visit the ambulance vendor because the DCFD used buy ambulances on a regular basis, thus their ambulance fleet was in better shape.

  • CMG_691

    I’m really sure he is the first fire chief to ever visit the ambulance factory….. sure!

  • Mtnfireguy

    And its not Ambulance… its Ambalance!

    “Fuel gages dont run out of gas”…. WTF

  • Alleycat

    For someone who is so quick to play the race card, I guess it isn’t worth noting that he refuses to speak to a white reporter but has a 7+ minute studio session with two African-American reporters. Probably just a coincidence.

    • Ashamed

      Definitely not one to defend, but yes this probably was a coincidence. Impromptu answers are a no-no, but time to prepare, perhaps have the questions beforehand and/or the anchors being ‘advised’ what they can & cannot ask is probably how things went. The anchors play their role, Paul Wagner plays his role & WTTG does not look ‘biased’. Trust me, there’s enough wrong-doing (not the term i would have preferred to use) to go around where race does not have to be an issue to prove that Ellerbe is not the person to head this department.

      • dave statter

        The anchor asked the tough questions. The problem is the follow-up. The anchors have a lot of interviews in the morning and usually don’t have a lot of in-depth knowledge of the specific issues like this one. A reporter covering the fire department would know how to dig further after the response and not stand for any BS answers. While I doubt that the news department allowed for any agreement not to ask certain things, it can generally be easier to answer the questions from those who haven’t done the digging to find where the truth is.

        As I recall, the other interview the chief stood still for was with an intern at The Washington Post. In some ways this can be a smart tactic to avoid having to answer to really tough questioning.

        • ShamrockDriver

          Thanks for the ins and outs Dave. The “interview” makes more sense to me now.

  • Ambulance Man

    THE Fire Chief is the best chief we had….When I was a Cadet he talk to me show me the way..Much love for him.. I love the chief.Great Dam Man. Thanks Chief your Former Cadet.

    • the pharcyde

      Dude your like F’n stupid…..why are you making fun of the cadet program isn’t there enough division as it is. Dude I may not agree with everything the chief has done…..but there is order in this department now. We are the biggest cry babies on the planet….oh because we cant get our way wtf!!.Dude the ambo situation was embarrassing to say the least…..although I dont believe anyone sabotaged it. I heard that a bomb is about to drop soon about members F’n with apparatus. I wonder what the unions answer will be for that.Dude I don’t care for any admin. and I have no faith in the union either. What have they done for us but collect your dues. Come on…they all should go union pres and LRB with him

  • HOOKMAN

    The interview probably went well for LRBOOB….just like a talk show…the guest says what is off limits and whats ok to ask him….and unlike Paul Wagner chasing his scaird butt around town..he has time to prepare for his FOX5 Tony Perkins exclusive interview, as opposed to being caught off guard while enroute to a VERY IMPORTANT meeting that requires him to procure lunch prior to said meeting…what a complete zero….come on karma…your ling overdue with this clown..

  • livindadream

    Regardless of any issues within DCFD, the crew’s failure to fuel a rig is not the Chief’s fault. Don’t tell me the gauge was broken. That’s an excuse. If the gauge was broken, my dept. has had the same issue, then heightened awareness to the fuel level is a primary concern. For an ambulance or fire apparatus to run out of fuel is unacceptable, ESPECIALLY, on detail with POTUS. This does not help the union’s fight at all. In fact, the LRB supporters will use this as a prime example of labor’s failures. Good luck guys, looks like you’ll need it.

    • Anonymous

      FD Form 71.2……Fuel Log

  • the pharcyde

    RECALL LOCAL36 LEADERSHIP, THEY HAVN’T DONE NOTHING FOR US BUT PLAYED THE DEPARTMENT AND MADE US LOOK LIKE FOOLS IN FRONT OF THE NATION. NO RAISE IN YEARS SINCE THE LEADERSHIP OF THE LOCAL HAS BEEN HERE,THEY HAVE ENCOURAGE MEMBERS TO CONDUCT FOUL AND BAD BEHAVIOR.tELL ME WHAT HAVE THEY DONE BUT COLLECT A PAYCHECK.ATLEAST WHEN THE SNEED WAS HERE WE GOT A NICE RAISE AND HE DIDN’T CREAT A HOSTILE ENVIROMENT WITH THE LEADERSHIP. RECALL THESE INCOMPETENT FOOLS NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!