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UPDATED: Woman wants to know why DC firefighters didn’t walk across street from firehouse to help dying father


Click here if video above fails to play

Click here for Monday’s report from WTTG-TV/Fox 5


In his reports this evening (Tuesday), reporter Paul Wagner says the focus of the investigation is a rookie firefighter and a lieutenant assigned to Truck 15. The five firefighters on the ladder truck, according to Wagner, were the only fire or EMS personnel in the station at the time of the incident.

Deputy Mayor Paul Quander told Wagner that the investigation indicates the rookie relayed the information about the emergency to a senior person and they are trying to determine what action that person took to deal with the situation.

A separate investigation is ongoing trying to determine why the Office of Unified Communications (OUC – DC’s 911 Center) sent the initial call to the 1300 block of Rhode Island Avenue, Northwest instead of the correct address, the 1300 block of Rhode Island Avenue, Northeast.


Paul Wagner, WTTG-TV/Fox 5:

A man collapses right across the street from a D.C. firehouse, but no one comes to help. It happened Saturday afternoon in Northeast D.C. when Medric “Cecil” Mills Jr., 77, suffered a massive heart attack in a shopping center parking lot. He later died.

The man’s daughter, Marie Mills, says several people ran to Engine 26 for help, but their desperate pleas went unanswered.

DC Medric Mills

“When it’s a cardiac case, seconds matter and they didn’t help my dad,” Mills said.

She was still in disbelief when we spoke with her outside the family home in Northeast D.C. Monday.

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Late Saturday afternoon, Mills says she was running errands with her father when he collapsed in a shopping center parking lot in the 1300 block of Rhode Island Avenue, NE. Mills said they could see a firefighter standing in the open doorway of the firehouse, but he wasn’t moving.

DC Engome 26 Truck 15

“I mean everybody was screaming and hollering at him across the street,” said Mills. “Why [couldn’t] he come? It’s not making sense and I think it was three separate people who went across to the fire station.”

Several people called 911, but at Engine 26, Mills says this is what they were told.

“He said something about his lieutenant and some type of authorization, and that he could not come and to recall dispatch and advise them that they needed to send somebody, and that the condition of the patient could be getting worse,” she said, “When I saw my dad was having shallow breaths, I ran to the curb and started screaming for him to come and help my father.”

And it only gets worse. Two sources familiar with the investigation say when an ambulance and engine were dispatched from another location, they were sent to the wrong quadrant of the city.

Mills said tearfully, “That’s why my daddy lay on that ground.”

Medric “Cecil” Mills Jr. was a lifelong D.C. resident. At 77 years old, he was still working for parks and recreation.

“That’s how much he loved Department of Parks and Recreation and his city,” Marie Mills said, “and he died in the city that didn’t do anything to help him.”

Mills says she talked to Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe on the phone and he promised an investigation.



Comments - Add Yours

  • IslaFire

    Well if what they say is true, that’s a piss poor excuse of a firefighter. Let’s wait to see what happens with the investigation.

    • noodle

      ?? piss poor, as in hiring the lowest form of applicants? the worst applicant the fire chief can find without any sort of competitive testing? this is what Ellerbe wants for the future of DC, and this is why the Mayor needs to get rid of him or not be re-elected.

  • Depressed Fireman

    I feel like some of the facts could be missing here. I can’t fathom that members in any firehouse in the USA would need special “authorization” to take in a simple “walk-in” type EMS run. As screwed up as the DCFEMS “leader” is, I can’t believe that to be true. I’m an officer in an urban engine that takes in around 3k runs a year. I would say 10% of them come in as walk-ins or a verbal report of an emergency. This still just doesn’t add up. Please someone clarify what the members in this house could have done to respond to assist this guy.

    IF, and it’s a big IF, these guys had the opportunity to provide care, shame on them. I don’t care what FD you have on your patch, this job is about service. You can dress it up into fancy mission statements, but service is the bottom line. This is the FD, and service could mean a million different things depending on the circumstances. I have a feeling more details come out soon to explain the actions of the firefighters.

    • YellowCab

      Depressed- you have never worked in a situation like has been created in DC over the past couple of years. We are afraid to fart because of retaliation. We have been given a harsh warning about using social media. We tiptoe on eggshells everywhere we go with everything we do so as not to upset the almighty leader. Insurance policies were terminated for firefighters that “didn’t live in the region”. I’m afraid to move my front line DC fire apparatus because it has not been serviced as required in several years because of “budget cut backs”, despite a billion dollar city surplus. What can we do? For one thing I let my congressman know all about it. In turn he promises to censure Eleanor Holmes Norton. The people of DC suffer in more ways than one. It is currently a lose-lose situation. But I understand what you are saying. It is amazing to see how things are going in DC. I think for the most part the public does not understand what is going on, and know knowing who was involved they probably never will. It is a person who was arrested for a crime then had it all swept under the table a few years back. It was “a friend” if you know what I mean. On another note the dispatchers are the most incompetent group of boobs ever. Listen to our dispatch on a live feed; although it is automated once in a while you will hear some mush-mouthed crack head come on and say some jibberish. And then there is the head of the ambulance union- a coward by the first order who needs a foot in his ass once and for all. So you see to understand why this happened you have to understand the culture here. It would help by first reading about the history of Aldolph Hitler and his leadership style- then you will have a little more grasp on our situation currently in DCFD.

  • stuart rhinehart

    I don’t understand how DC continues to have these type of patient care failings? So many issues. So many incidents. The Rosenbaum suit. It is just unbelievable.

    • Fire LRB

      When your leadership is piss poor, racist, vindictive, shady, etc… Coupled with hiring kids pretty much off the street that have no idea what the fire service is about, this is what you get. In this situation, a cadet, apparently with no morals whatsoever, failed to alert the crew, turn out the company, grab the ems gear, and call for help. The cadet, and officer in charge, should be fired at minimum. The cadet will be lucky if there are no criminal charges against him, I think there should be.

  • Waiting for an end.

    Two words. Muffin Head.


      you must have broken into my barn, because that’s exactly where I store my muffin heads…..and I agree with Doing It..but hay..nobody said life was going to be fair…

  • nocando

    these people should talk to the chief,because under his leadership, this situation was allowed to happen. she should be mad,,,but not at the neighborhood station guys. local D C leadership is a mirror of the current federal administraition period.

  • Jeff

    When are they going to get rid of this jackass chief

  • Virginia Pete

    If what is reported here turns out to be true, I don’t understand how it’s the Chief’s fault that the guys on the street didn’t act.

  • picklehead


  • picklehead


  • DocMarten

    thank you mayor gray? he is the problem BM-

  • Hay Dookey!

    NoMcCrory2013 it was not the chief but it was one of the lumps of shit he hired……. and the officer in charge was another big lump of (horse) shit.

    • NoMcCrory2013

      Not defending chief at all because i think he is incompetent and was in Georgia also but Police or Fire chief has no say so in hiring. This fault lays squarely with rookie and whoever was his supervisor. If culture of firehouse is to have citizen call 911 to see if someone else can be dispatched so they can sit on their ass then that whole house needs to be restructured. DC firefighters (bless them all) have long resisted any attempts to assist with EMS and that goes well back before current chief. The union needs to investigate whoever was responsible and have them dealt with accordingly. Whatever gripes they have with the chief notwithstanding their first and foremost duty is to the citizens of Wash. DC whether that citizen is having a heart attack, or stomach ache, house on fire or stuck in a hole. Making the news arguing with the chief about policy most folks can’t relate to. This kind of blatant shunning of someone in need is appalling.

  • puzzled

    Well I could be wrong, (probably not), but one must be an EMT in order to be a firefighter in DC. In Texas, we have laws ie. A Duty To Act. Meaning if there is an emergency in my response area, I have a legal obligation to respond, even if it is self dispatched. My failure to act constitutes negligence and may result in the suspension or revocation of my certifications, both fire and EMT. I might also be facing litigation both criminally and civilly. The law trumps any policy or order from the department. Outside my response area, I may not have the legal duty, but certainly a moral duty to act . But this IS DC, and not being a state, may not have the same laws. I know at least around here, if the investigation proved the incident as stated in this story, there would be some overtime for people, and open positions to fill on that shift. I’ve fired people for a lot less.

  • Slim Shady

    Exactly Barney Miller! It’s unfortunate this happened, and it should not have happened. Maybe the mayor (NOT) and city council will wake up and see that the fire chief is an incompetent, tyrannical, racist, who has hired incompetence. WE DO NOT WANT TO WORK FOR A RACIST TYRANT!!! ENOUGH!!! .

  • Fearful of retaliation

    For ellerbe’s investigation it will be simple. White? Guilty. Black? Innocent.

  • NoMcCrory2013

    LOL that explains it Florida is F**KED up

  • NoMcCrory2013

    PS not condoning racism Uncle retired from DCFD. Joined in the 60’s You wanna know racism talk to any black firefighters from that era!!!!!

  • Sick and Tired

    Hey Marty – read the City’s OIG report on the incident and then say the FD wasn’t equally responsible! Stop piping in with the same old “not my fault” routine.