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Vigil held for man who died near fire station

WASHINGTON – Standing in the very place Medric ‘Cecil’ Mills collapsed, family and community members held a vigil on Thursday night and demanded action in response to his neglect by firefighters.

Dozens of people stood quietly with candles, facing the fire station in question.

Mills and his daughter, Marie, had been shopping for a computer last month when he collapsed in a parking lot.

It had seemed like he had a good chance of survival – Engine 26 Fire Station was right across Rhode Island Avenue Northeast.

Despite pleas and frantic waving, no response from that fire station ever arrived. The ambulance that was dispatched went to the wrong quadrant of the District. Mills ultimately died.

“Mayor Gray, let this not go unpunished!” Mills’ son, also named Medric, said at the vigil.

Earlier in the day, he called for the firing of everyone involved in the botched response.

An investigation into the incident has begun, but the lieutenant at the fire station has already retired. Another rookie firefighter has been moved to a different station, though public safety officials say that does not reflect a punishment.

“As we light the candles to stand in agreement this night, change must come,” Mills’ son said.

The family has not yet announced any legal action against the District. At a news conference Thursday morning, family members decried laws that make it difficult to hold people accountable in such circumstances.

Mills’ funeral has been set for Saturday at Canaan Baptist Church.

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