DC fire chief admits mistake made on retirement law

A fire lieutenant will not be held accountable for his actions that may have contributed to the death of a toddler because he was allowed to retire before facing discipline


WASHINGTON — D.C. Fire and EMS Chief Gregory Dean admitted he made a mistake on their retirement law by not investigating a fire officer who failed to respond to a call for a choking child.

FOX 5 DC reported that Chief Dean ignored the law of keeping firefighters accountable for their actions by allowing Lt. Guy Valentine to retire after he made a mistake in the fatal incident involving a child. Instead of facing a disciplinary process before being allowed to retire, he will get his full pension and receive no discipline for the incident.

According to investigators, Lt. Valentine heard a call go out on March 18 for a choking child just three blocks from his station. He, however, failed to take the call because he was not dispatched and didn’t know the house where the toddler was in distress was only three blocks away.

A report claims the lieutenant's engine with a paramedic on board wasn’t dispatched because a communications tablet installed in the engine had become disconnected. Investigators concluded that Lt. Valentine heard the emergency on the radio and should have taken the call.

"Our goal is to find a way to correct this, make it right for the family and for the city, but at the same time, we accept responsibility," Chief Dean said. "We have a move forward, we've got the regulations, we are having our legal team go through that and put them in place."

The toddler, Martin Cuesta, was on life support for several days before he died. His father said he is extremely upset and sickened to hear no one will be held accountable for his son's death.

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