WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The D.C. Fire & EMS Department says it now knows more about how its marked gear and uniforms were sold to the public and are now considering eliminating the auction of surplus material. As WUSA9.com first reported March 3, the auctions occurred despite concerns terrorists could attempt to pose as first responders.
At an oversight hearing before the DC City Council's Public Safety and Judiciary Committee on March 4, Chief Rubin said the first his command staff became aware of the issue was when a reporter began asking questions a day earlier. At the time of the hearing, Rubin told Chairman Phil Mendelsen there was the possibility a criminal investigation would be needed. WUSA9.com has learned this concern came from pictures showing what appeared to be brand new gear that was part of the auction.
Spokesman Alan Etter says it turned out not be a criminal matter and investigators have now determined the newer materials were specific models of equipment the department no longer uses. According to Etter, the city followed its standard procedures in auctioning surplus gear.
Rubin made it clear at the hearing, at the very least, all identifying marks from the DC Fire & EMS Department should have been removed. Now efforts are beginning to see if the department can completely opt out of the city's public auctions.
Republished with permission of WUSA-TV.