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D.C. Fire Chief Steps Down


WASHINGTON (WJLA) - The chief of Washington D.C.'s fire department will step down next month after three years marked by complaints of poor service in the department.

Chief Kenneth Ellerbe said Wednesday that he will step down July 2. Ellerbe has been the target of much criticism in light of his department's many controversies, including the death of Cecil Mills, a D.C. employee who died across the street from a fire station, ignored by the EMS personnel inside.

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Ellerbe told The Washington Post in an interview that he was not forced out, but it was clear that his 31-year career with the D.C. Fire Department would not last once District Mayor Vincent Gray left office. Muriel Bowser, who won the Democratic mayoral primary in April, said she would not keep Ellerbe if elected. David Catania, the other leading candidate to be D.C.'s next mayor, has also said he would not keep Ellerbe.

The city's firefighters union has called for Ellerbe's ouster for months, along with D.C. Councilmember Tommy Wells.

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The fire department has faced criticism for delays in patient care and the death of an elderly man after firefighters ignored calls for help from bystanders.

The interim fire chief will be Assistant Chief Eugene Jones.


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