Eugene Jones begins time as interim D.C. fire chief

WASHINGTON — One month after former D.C. Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe announced he was stepping down, a new chief has taken his place.

Ellerbe’s last day was Wednesday. Eugene Jones, whose position was assistant chief, will now lead D.C. Fire and EMS as interim chief.

“I feel pretty comfortable about the day-to-day operations and where the department is going,” Jones told WUSA9. “The District of Columbia fire department is one of the top organizations in the country.”

Despite criticism over slow ambulance response times during Ellerbe’s time in office, Jones strongly defends the department’s record.

“All the statistics show that we get there in the time that we plan on getting there,” he told WUSA9. “National standards, we’re in the 90th percentile of getting to the scene on time.”

Jones told WUSA9 he hopes to add more fire engines and improve the relationship between the firefighters union and the chief’s office.

However, his time as leader might be limited.

D.C. will have a new mayor next year, and it will be up to them to decide whether Jones stays on as chief.

“I’ll just wait to hear,” Jones said to WUSA9. “In our organization, we follow direction.”

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