Councilmember who once supported DC Chief Ellerbe calls for his resignation


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Also from STATter911: A failure to respond at all levels in the Nation’s Capital

David Grosso is the second member of the DC City Council to call for the resignation of DC Fire & EMS Department Chief Kenneth Ellerbe. Grosso describes himself as having supported Chief Ellerbe until now. Grosso joins Mary Cheh, who first called for Ellerbe’s resignation last summer. Both Cheh and Grosso spoke with WTTG-TV/Fox 5 reporter Matt Ackland in the story above.

Another council member, Tommy Wells, who is running for mayor and heads the committee that oversees the fire department’s budget, made it clear to Ackland that Ellerbe would not be part of a Wells administration.

DC Ellerbe official

All of this comes as the crisis over the crew from Truck 15-2 failing to provide aid to a dying man heads into its second week of news coverage. The story has made national and international news.

As I pointed out last week, the continuing inept way this crisis is being handled by city leaders, including Chief Ellerbe, has helped allow the news cycle for this tragic situation to extend well beyond where it should. What Ellerbe and his boss, Deputy Mayor Paul Quander, fail to understand or don’t care to address, is that until they come forward and provide clear and decisive leadership, the story will continue to have legs.

DC West Australian man dies across from firehouse
The story of a man dying across the street from a DC firehouse has made news around the world.

A spokesman for Ellerbe is making excuses for the chief’s failure not only to address the press and the public about this incident, but in not providing vocal support for the 1800 or so uniformed employees of the department who know how to respond when a citizen comes to the firehouse seeking help.

More about Ellerbe from reporter Paul Wagner (watch Wagner’s story from today):

D.C.’s fire chief remained silent Monday on the investigation into the death of Cecil Mills and the firefighters who stayed inside their station despite repeated pleas for help.

Mills, 77, suffered a massive heart attack a week ago Saturday and later died.

The lifelong city resident and D.C. government employee waited at least nine minutes for an ambulance despite collapsing right across the street from the station in the 1300 block of Rhode Island Avenue in Northeast D.C.Two firefighters, including a lieutenant, have been placed on desk duty and a rookie has been transferred.

A spokesperson for the deputy mayor for public safety says the chief doesn’t want the investigation to be influenced by something he might say publicly.

The results of that investigation, including the reasons why the first ambulance was sent to the wrong quadrant of the city, are expected later this week or the beginning of next week.

The rookie firefighter, who told people trying to get help for Mills he couldn’t do anything without an order from his lieutenant and to instead call 911, has not been placed on desk duty and has instead been transferred to another station.

Meanwhile, the Mills family is now being represented by the Cochran law firm and a representative of that firm says there are plans to hold a news conference sometime this week

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