D.C. Officials Say Chief Ellerbe Needs to Go

Several D.C. elected officials say Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe needs to go.

The department has been plagued with issues and complaints in the past few years.

Among the issues include leaving an injured police officer waiting for 30 minutes for an ambulance, an ambulance in the Presidential motorcade running out fuel, an ambulance breaking down with a cardiac arrest patient aboard and most recently,  firefighters didn't cross the street to help a man in distress. The city worker died.

An ambulance was dispatched to another section of the city. A police officer flagged down a passing EMS crew to get help.

On Monday night, WTTG reported that city officials say they've had enough. 

At-large Councilmember David Grosso says the city worker's death  is the final straw.

“I've been a supporter of Chief Ellerbe the entire time I've been in office, but I think at some point, someone does have to be held accountable for something as egregious as this,” said Grosso. “And so, I think it is time for him to step down and bring in new leadership.”

Another Council member, Tommy Wells, also told the reporter:  “It's not just the fact that they would not come out of the firehouse and help with this gentleman at his daughter’s request, but they sent the ambulance to the wrong quadrant of the city..."

Wells chairs the public safety committee. He plans to hold a hearing on this tragic situation next week.

The mayoral candidate said if elected Ellerbe will be gone. 

Another member of the council wants a new chief as well. 

Councilmember Mary Cheh called on Chief Ellerbe to step down last summer after equipment and staff issues were uncovered. She says this latest incident is even more reason for the chief to leave.

“All I sense is that what you have is low morale in a department, a manager who likes to hold forth as the chief, but is not really doing all the nitty-gritty things to turn a department around,” she told the reporter.