Committee to examine fire department’s response in Cecil Mills incident

WASHINGTON — Almost a month after the death of Medric “Cecil” Mills, a committee will meet on Monday to look into the D.C. fire department’s response to his collapse.

Mills, 77, went into cardiac arrest in a parking lot across from a Northeast fire station on Jan. 25. No one from the station came to his aid, and an ambulance dispatched to assist him went to the wrong quadrant of D.C. Mills later died at a hospital.

“There’s no good explanation for it,” says D.C. Council member Tommy Wells, a member of the committee.

He wants to know whether Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe and Mayor Vincent Gray believe the problem goes past the response at one station.

“I’m not willing to say it’s just the lower-level firefighters. I want to know, to what degree does the administration understand that there’s a systemic problem, and to what degree can they assure the public that they’ve got a handle on it and they can fix it,” Wells says.

Deputy Mayor Paul Quander has called the fire department’s response to Mills “apathy in its worst form.”

A fire department report was released Friday and said D.C. firefighters were aware a man collapsed and needed medical attention, but they didn’t assist.

“The buck has to stop with who’s in charge,” Wells says.

WTOP’s Andrew Mollenbeck contributed to this report. Follow @WTOP on Twitter and on the WTOP Facebook page.

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