Ellerbe Knew Man Who Died While Crew Failed to Help

Embattled D.C. Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe broke his silence Tuesday evening.

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While a number of officials are now calling for him to step down, he doesn't appear to be going anywhere -- for now at least. 

WTTG reporters, who broke the story about firefighters not crossing the street to help a man, said Ellerbe seemed rattled about the death of the city worker, whom he knew.

“I don't want to paint the department with a broad brush because of this single incident,” said Ellerbe. “It’s a tragic incident and it’s something we really wished had not happened and it’s something we're investigating.”

The lieutenant in charge of the fire station returned for her next shift and tried to hide her face as she sat in the passenger seat of a fire truck. Shortly after she was relieved of her command, the veteran submitted retirement papers.

The reporters noted the incident "has captured national headlines and the Washington Post editorial board says the firefighters showed callous disregard for a man's life."

“What I would say to Ms. Mills is what I’ve already said to Ms. Mills: I knew Mr. Mills. He was somebody I knew well,” Ellerbe said. “And she understands that I am sorry for what happened and regret that it occurred. We are an agency that is responsible for taking care of the city.”

The latest incident has led to the loss of support from some of elected officials.