UPDATED: Lt. Robert Alvarado sent home for wearing DCFD coat at training academy. Says department should provide outwear with mandated logo. Calls chief 'hostile'.

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Previous story: Lt. Alvarado asks Chief Ellerbe to deal fairly with firefighters

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Commentary from The Secret List on latest DCFD logo issue & proposed demotion of battalion chief over beer in firehouse disciplinary process

UPDATED – Fox5/WTTG TV's interview is below. In addition, reporter Laura Evans has this from both Lt. Robert Alverado and Chief Kenneth Ellerbe:

He believes in this case that he is being singled out. And he says it goes beyond just this, to a bigger issue of a pattern of intimidation and threats from the top down.

“I want to be able to come to work and not have to be afraid of more than dying on the job,” said Alvarado. “To have extra stress added on to an already stressful job by a hostile fire chief.”

When asked for D.C. Fire and EMS to respond to this matter, Chief Ellerbe sent us the following statement:

"This is a personnel matter. The department does not make public comments regarding personnel matters."


A D.C. Fire Lieutenant with a clean record was placed on administrative leave after wearing an overcoat bearing the old department logo.

Lieutenant Robert Alvarado says all he was trying to do Tuesday morning was stay warm.

"It was either take this off and be cold or go home," Alvarado said. "I was sent home."

Alverado was at the Fire Training Academy with three of his men and Truck 13. They were outside practicing for an upcoming certification test but the training ended abruptly when Alvarado claims a deputy chief told him to remove his overcoat because it had the department's previous logo on it.

Last March Chief Kenneth Ellerbe changed the department's logo to include the words Fire and EMS and ordered personnel to only wear gear with the new logo.

Alvarado said he doesn't have another department overcoat.

"I've got a clean disciplinary record," he said. "Been on for 12 years. I'm not a trouble maker."

A Fire Department spokesperson said that D.C. Fire and EMS rules state anyone who doesn't wear clothing with the new logo on the job will be disciplined.

"The members need to be provided the jackets that the department wants them to wear," Alvarado said.

He said neither he nor any of his fellow firefighters have been given new department issued sweatshirts or overcoats. Tuesday morning, it was 29 degrees at the Academy.

"I could wear that which is covered in carcinogens and toxins but I would prefer to only wear that on a fire scene."

Alvarado says he could ultimately be suspended for what he did. A D.C. Fire and EMS spokesperson would not comment on Alvarado's case, but did say the department was in the process of buying new gear for all personnel with the proper logos on them.

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