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More DC news: Paramedic coverage in neighborhoods reduced to handle July 4th events. $12 million lawsuit over delayed New Year’s response. Fire truck breaks down on way to fire. Chief says he’s not resigning.

DC Breaking Local News Weather Sports FOX 5 WTTG

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Ladder truck breaks down on way to apartment fire

There has been a lot of DC Fire & EMS Department news in recent days. In the video above WTTG-TV/Fox 5 reporter Paul Wagner shows the department did not have enough paramedics available on July 4th to staff a significant number of medic units and paramedic engine companies, leaving many neighborhoods without advanced life support coverage. Wagner points out that Deputy Mayor Paul Quander had told the City Council the department would be able to provide proper coverage in the community at the same time they were dealing with hundreds of thousands of visitors enjoying Independence Day events.

Also, the same TV station reports that Truck 8 broke down in the middle of Alabama Avenue early this morning on the way to an apartment fire.

In other DC news below, Chief Kenneth Ellerbe makes it clear he isn’t going anywhere despite Councilmember Mary Cheh’s call for his resignation. Also, the family of a man who died New Year’s Day is suing the District of Columbia for $12 million (more from Curt Varone’s FireLawBlog.com).

View more videos at: http://nbcwashington.com.


D.C. Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe says he’s not stepping down, days after a D.C. councilwoman called for him to do so.

Ellerbe has been under fire for a series of ambulance response issues in the city. A recent report by the D.C. Council’s Judiciary and Public Safety committee revealed the department has a  serious shortage of paramedics, is using outdated and incorrect  information and is exceeding its budget by millions of dollars.

That led D.C. Councilwoman Mary Cheh to call for his resignation. But Thursday, Ellerbe told News4’s Mark Segraves he’s staying in his job.

“Anybody in leadership has to expect there will be criticism,” Ellerbe said. “There may be folks who don’t see your vision. But that’s part of leadership.

“It takes courage to be in these positions, and as I told the Council when we started to unveil this plan, it’s going to take some courageous folks to get behind this, because it represents a change in the status quo.”

Ellerbe has said he wants to shift fire and EMS staffing to daylight hours. His plan would have put more paramedics on duty during the hours when most  calls come  in, but it would’ve also reduced the number of paramedics on  duty during overnight hours.

However, Ellerbe’s proposed ambulance redeployment plan has been denied by the Judiciary Committee.

Cheh’s call for Ellerbe’s resignation came in a letter to Councilman Tommy Wells, chair of the Judiciary committee. She said the committee should demand a plan from Mayor Vincent Gray that will return the District’s Fire and EMS department back to “excellence” and “prestige.”

View more videos at: http://nbcwashington.com.

Mila Mirnica, WRC-TV/NBC 4:

A District man whose father died New Year’s Eve 2012 while waiting 40 minutes for an ambulance has filed a lawsuit against D.C. Fire and EMS.

Durand Ford Jr. told News4’s Shomari Stone earlier this year that his father, Durand Ford  Sr., went into cardiac arrest Jan. 1 and his family called  911 around 1 a.m. to request assistance.

That night, more than 50 firefighters called out sick, approximately 1⁄4 of the force, according to the lawsuit. It’s a number the firefighters’ union called “unusual,” though a  spokesperson denied there was a coordinated sick-out that night.

Durand Ford Jr. and his family are suing for wrongful death, survival action and punitive damages, totaling $12 million.

“Durand Ford Sr.’s ultimate death was the direct and proximate result of the grossly negligent acts and/or omissions” of the fire department, the lawsuit states.

A spokesperson for D.C. fire told Stone that the department would not comment on the lawsuit.

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