There’s a lot of news this week from the DC Fire & EMS Department. Mayor Vincent Gray today says he’s “outraged” over firefighters failing to walk across the street to help a dying man over the weekend. WTTG-TV/ Fox 5 reporter Paul Wagner has identified the officer in charge of the fire company that didn’t render aid as Lt. Kellene Davis. And on another front, because of about a dozen recent arrests, Chief Kenneth Ellerbe has ordered background checks on all 1800 uniformed employees of the department, saying those who have failed to report their arrests face possible termination.
In fact, if you Google Lt. Davis from DC’s Truck 15, you will find that veteran WRC-TV/NBC 4 reporter Pat Collins reported in May of 2012 , that Lt. Davis was herself arrested and charged with stealing 20 bales of hay from a shed in Upper Marlboro. Let me emphasis, LT. DAVIS WAS NOT CONVICTED OF A CRIME IN THIS CASE.
While Collins’ report and other reports say that Lt. Davis was place on paid leave from Truck 15 at the time of the 2012 news coverage, a Google search gives no indication of when Lt. Davis reported her arrest to the department and how this episode was eventually resolved internally. I want to make it very clear again, that all indications from various searches and public records are that Lt. Davis was NEVER convicted of this crime. We are only relaying what is already in the public record about Lt. Davis’ previous appearance in the news.
The lieutenant at the center of the controversy surrounding the death of Cecil Mills was interviewed by internal affairs Wednesday. Kellene Davis commands Truck 15 and was the officer in charge when the 77-year-old collapsed in a strip mall across the street from the fire station. Mills’ daughter, Marie, says no one from the station, located in the 1300 block of Rhode Island Avenue in Northeast D.C., would cross the street to help her father despite numerous pleas for assistance. Davis was questioned for more than an hour and a half, and when she left headquarters, FOX 5 attempted to speak with her. Instead of responding, Davis covered her face with a manila folder and climbed into the truck she commands.
Although the fire department has said nothing about the incident, Paul Quander, the Deputy Mayor for Public Safety, said Tuesday the focus of the investigation is now on the lieutenant.
“We know we had a very new probationary employee at the facility and the first response is to ask a senior person, and we believe that was done,” said Quander. “The question now is what did that senior person say? What did that person do? Did they follow protocols and procedures?”
Last Saturday afternoon, Marie Mills was with her father when he suffered a massive heart attack in front of a computer store across the street from the fire station.
Despite numerous pleas for help, no one left the station to render first aid.
Mills was surprised to learn Lieutenant Davis has not been suspended.
“She is still riding a fire vehicle? And she wouldn’t authorize somebody? She could have came to help,” said Mills.
She also questioned the actions of the rookie firefighter who heard the cries for help.
“The rookie should have made a conscious decision as a human being,” she said. “He should have come to offer assistance. If he would have offered assistance, no matter the outcome, no matter what his job was, my family is the kind of family that would have stuck behind him.”
Cecil Mills was 77 years old and a lifelong resident of the District. He was still employed by the Department of Parks and Recreation at the time of his death.
“[Tuesday] evening I spoke with Mayor Gray,” said Mills. “He was sincere. Others who have called have not been as sincere and I appreciate how seriously he is taking this because it never should have happened.”
Ed Smith, president of the firefighters union issued a statement which reads: “This just shouldn’t have happened. We need to find out why it did occur and make sure it never happens again. On behalf of the DC Firefighters Association, I offer Mr. Mills’ family a sincere apology.”
In addition to the investigation into the actions of the members of Truck 15, the Office of Unified Communications is trying to learn why the initial dispatch sent an ambulance to the wrong quadrant of the city — Northwest D.C. instead of Northeast D.C.
So far, no one has been suspended.