D.C. Fire Chief Speaks Out About Patient Death

Chief Ellerbe defends his department after the death of a patient across from a firehouse



SAM FORD, JESSO PARK, ROZ PLATTER, WJLA | | Thursday, February 6, 2014


Multimedia Thumb

D.C. Fire Chief Speaks Out About Patient Death

Chief Ellerbe waited until initial phase of investigation was complete before commenting.
more >

WASHINGTON (WJLA) - D.C. Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe defended his department on Wednesday after the Mills family asked for help and voiced their frustration after the death of 77-year-old Cecil Mills across from Engine 26.

Ellerbe has been somewhat incognito since the investigation began more than week ago, saying he didn’t want to speak publicly until the initial phase of the investigation was over. But he finally addressed the situation by saying that it was not something that represents the fire department.

"This incident is one that I consider to be regretful," he said. "It's one that we won't run away from...and we will hold people accountable for it."

He called the incident an "anomaly," and continued: “This one instance shouldn't brand our department, it shouldn’t stain the entire membership of this department. We have a lot of good people in this department, I don’t want them to feel bad about coming to work."

Ellerbe said that he personally knew Mr. Mills from being fellow Shriners in the Shriners organization, where Mills held a high position. This was reportedly another reason that he was reluctant to discuss the incident publicly so soon:

"Mr. Mills was a member of a fraternal organization I belong to," said Ellerbe. "He was the leader of that organization and someone I would see frequently...He and I would talk about his daughter going to dance at the Kennedy Center."

Ellerbe says he has already expressed his condolences to the Mills family, and ensures that he will try his best to see the investigation through:

"This is a disciplinary matter quite possibly, and I don't want anyone to say I had any undue influence over the process -- particularly if I'm taking action at the end of it."

The Mills family will be holding a news conference Thursday at the site where the incident took place, and it will be led by attorneys of the Cochran Group, suggesting that the city may be facing a significant lawsuit.

Mobile Category: 

D.C. Fire Chief Speaks Out About Patient Death

Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: News, delayed service, DCFEMS, DCFD

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS



Get JEMS in Your Inbox


Fire EMS Blogs

Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts


EMS Airway Clinic

Innovation & Progress

Follow in the footsteps of these inspirational leaders of EMS.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Tennessee County EMS Shows Off CPR Tool

Lucas 2 in service in Bradley County.
Watch It >

Multimedia Thumb

Abilene Loses Helicopter Service

Native Air leaves city with only one air helicopter service.
Watch It >

Multimedia Thumb

D.C. Fire Chief Proposes another Controversial Ambulance Plan

Staffing change will leave immediate neighborhood without fire apparatus.
Watch It >

Multimedia Thumb


Mike McEvoy and A.J. Heightman discuss some new EMS technology at FDIC 2014.
Watch It >

Multimedia Thumb

VividTrac offered by Vivid Medical - EMS Today 2013

VividTrac, affordable high performance video intubation device.
Watch It >

Multimedia Thumb

Field Bridge Xpress ePCR on iPad, Android, Kindle Fire

Sneak peek of customizable run forms & more.
Watch It >

Multimedia Thumb

Braun Ambulances' EZ Door Forward

Helps to create a safer ambulance module.
Watch It >

More Product Videos >