D.C. fire chief: Not helping dying man was unacceptable

Family members expressed outrage over the department's handling of the issue, including holding a close-door review of the officer on duty

WASHINGTON — Relatives of Cecil Mills, who died across the street from a firehouse after firefighters there wouldn’t help him, unloaded on D.C. Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe at a meeting Thursday night.

Cecil Mills, 77, died in January after collapsing from a heart attack. Firefighters at a station across the street never came to help him despite repeated requests for assistance.

"My sister doesn't have a father, my cousins don't have an uncle," Mills' son Medric said to Chief Ellerbe. "Because of the lack of! Lack, lack Kenny, lack! Lack shouldn't be accepted in this city. This city is supposed to be the flagship of everything this country stands for, and it's not!”

Dozens of residents questioned why a recent trial board for Lt. Kellene Davis, who was involved in the incident, was closed to the public, WJLA reported.

"In my mind, it's telling me you're hiding something from me or you don't want me to hear what goes on," Medric told Ellerbe, who said it had not been his decision to close the meeting to the public, according to the report.

Medric grew emotional after his comments and after listening to a few last words from Chief Ellerbe, he walked out, according to the report.

Mills' daughter Marie said after the meeting she was also not satisfied by what she had heard from Chief Ellerbe.

"What happened to the Mills family is something that shouldn't happen to any family in the District,” Chief Ellerbe said after the meeting. “And we want to make sure we do everything we can to make sure nothing like that happens again."

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