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UPDATED DC lieutenant finally put on desk duty – Firehouse receiving death threats


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PREVIOUSLY ON STATTER911: Where’s DC’s fire chief & why were the accused firefighters still riding fire trucks?

Lots of developments this evening from the failure to respond to help a dying man by one crew of DC firefighters. WTTG-TV/Fox 5 reporter Paul Wagner displayed what he has verified is an official statement about the incident sent Sunday from Lt. Kellene Davis to Chief Ellerbe. Wagner characterizes Davis as throwing  “one of her own under the bus” (Wagner’s words) when she blames the incident on a firefighter under her command. In addition, what should have happened on Saturday has finally occurred today (my words) when it was announced Lt. Davis was now on desk duty while the incident is investigated..

As I wrote this morning, we are at a loss to explain not only the failure to help 77-year-old Cecil Mills, but the failure of Chief Kenneth Ellerbe to immediately take the crew off the street when he chief learned of this very serious allegation on Saturday. Or even Sunday when, as we know now, he had the lieutenant’s written statement.

Also, as I predicted this morning, both CNN and MSNBC aired this story today. The usual poor crisis management job by Chief Ellerbe, Deputy Mayor Quander and Mayor Gray has stretched this into a week long news event where developments come out little by little, with the news coverage growing each day.

Through it all, there has been no decisive action and no clear statement from Chief Ellerbe or his two bosses describing what went wrong. None of these three men has even bothered to stand up for the men and women of the department who are probably, to a person, as outraged as Mayor Gray says he is.

Looking at the news coverage for today, it’s clear another work day is over and Chief Ellerbe remains in hiding avoiding the cameras.

WTTG-TV/Fox 5:

There is new information about the investigation of a man who had a heart attack right across from a D.C. firehouse. Cecil Mills collapsed in Northeast D.C. on Saturday and later died. People were screaming for help, but no one from the firehouse responded.

Now FOX 5 has learned the lieutenant in charge of that firehouse appears to be throwing one of her own under the bus.

The lieutenant’s name is Kellene Davis. She has been removed from command.

She wrote a letter to Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe. In it, she is blaming the whole thing on a firefighter who she says disobeyed her command.

Davis had nothing to say to FOX 5 as she left fire department headquarters Wednesday. We gave her the opportunity to tell her side of the story, but she said nothing.

On Thursday, we got our hands on a letter Lt. Davis sent to Chief Ellerbe which she titled an “Unusual Occurrence.”

DC KEllene Davis statement A

Both WTTG-TV/Fox 5 and The Washington Post are reporting this is the statement Lt. Davis sent to Chief Ellerbe on Sunday.

In her statement, Davis says: “Firefighter G. Murphy informed me that someone had slipped and fallen across the street. I then asked (him) to get me an address and I will be right there. (He) did not return with an address. This was an (Unusual Occurrence) in that my order was not followed.”

That address is right across from the firehouse.

Davis says she went looking for Murphy, found him in the bunkroom, and he told her another ambulance already had been dispatched.

In her statement, Davis went on to say another firefighter, a rookie who heard the pleas for help, was counseled for not ringing the firehouse bells, which is proper procedure.

Five days into the investigation, we now know Davis is on desk duty along with Firefighter Murphy, who she is blaming for disobeying an order.

The rookie has been transferred to a fire station on Georgia Avenue.

DC Lt. Davis 2

Ellerbe has remained silent despite our repeated requests for an interview.

FOX 5 has also learned the firehouse is getting threatening phone calls. The fire department confirms this. Sources are elaborating by saying they are death threats.

Mayor Vincent Gray has promised a quick conclusion to the investigation. He says he was outraged by the firefighters’ behavior.


Comments - Add Yours

  • Citizen

    Same officer that was arrested in PG for theft.and nothing happened to her

  • Tire Of It

    Isn’t this Leutenant – ‘Kellene Davis’ the same person that was charged with theft and burglary in PG County MD??? Why is she still leading at the fire department…says an awful lot about the type of fire chief and mayor that DC has…what a joke.

  • The Jester

    We all know why she won’t get fired. Way to be out of uniform too. Im sure that hat does not go with her class-a uniform. DC firefighters need to all be made to be paramedics and have an ambulance in EVERY firehouse. Most guys think that they are “above” providing EMS and salty firemen don’t lower themselves to do that. Shame that this fire department is completely mismanaged and needs to become a modern fire/rescue agency in which all of thier members provide EMS.

    • truth

      Please tell me which DC firehouse doesn’t have an ambulance?

    • saboats

      You do NOT want every FF to be a paramedic, this has been proven to be UNSAFE and DECREASE care where it has been tried. What you need is an administration that promotes EMS (you know, that pesky thing that is the majority of the calls for service) and ensure that there are more ambulances available.

  • Mack Seagrave

    Isn’t Ellerbe the same duffus who ordered charges to be given to an officer because there was an unopened beer can found in a firehouse and also to another member of the department because they wore a jacket with the old department logo on it? This Lt. is accused of failure to respond to a verbal alarm for a life threatening medical emergency (that resulted in a death) across the street from the firehouse and she doesn’t get removed from duty until the media and the community jump all over the story? This poor excuse for a chief should be removed from his position (as well as from the fire service as a whole).

  • 8truck

    Thought this was a brotherhood? Man up to the mistake and accept the consequences. Don’t throw other firefighters under the bus. I’m willing to bet the rookie wasn’t even informed on the house bell procedure.

  • Alan Rose

    One day this will be in a book titled, “How NOT to run a fire and/or EMS agency.”

  • Wendal

    Bloody disgraceful. Your the boss. Ultimately you are responsible for making sure your orders are carried out. Poor leadership. Poor form. You are a discrace to your family of firefighters in trying to blame a firefighter for something that is your responsibility.

  • gunsnhoses

    Give me a break. There is planty of excellent leadership in the ranks of the DCFD but they have been suppressed! BTW, Local 36 has been sounding the warning bells for years on these issues and yes, many guys are volunteers too.

    • volunteer for life

      Its time a guy from the outside and not from a small city like the Rube but one who has not only lots of fire but plenty of bs. To many clicks in dc fd and the union.

    • saboats

      so has the industry for many years, yet nothing improves. DCFEMS is really the joke of the field currently, keep defending it though. It’s fun to watch

  • mdbball02

    Seems more concerned with covering her butt that the life of csomeone RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET? Why did she go looking for the FF and not walk out of the Firehouse and look for the injured FIRST?!?!? She’s seems to be all about the power and not about the JOB!

  • OTJ

    The address was ACROSS THE STREET FROM YOUR FIREHOUSE you friggin’ idiot!!! Does that not answer the immediate question of “Where”? Oh and hay—nice hat there, lady. Don’t want that muffin to get cold. Good try with putting your papers in! Let’s see how that works out for you.

  • cladcromwell

    That’s a relief. I was worried for a minute; but now they have a white guy to blame it on. I’m glad she found him before she bothered to check outside and see what was going on.

  • saboats

    Yet they still don’t respond.

    • oskars

      The only vehicle in the house at the time was a ladder truck. The ambo and paramedic engine in that house were on another run.

      • saboats

        So the boys on the ladder couldn’t walk across the street with an aid bag?

  • NANative

    Face it – public jobs are predominately de facto social engineering/welfare slots. Metro is bad enough. Thank god they don’t dare pull this bs in my ward.