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D.C. Fire Chief Apologizes For Ambulance Failures

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D.C. Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe apologized for the department's recent failures.
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D.C. Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe apologized for the department's recent failures.

D.C. Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe is apologizing for recent failures that led to slow ambulance response times in the city, but two District council members say they remain concerned about the chief's management of the department, given its staff and equipment shortages.

Ellerbe told a D.C. Council committee Thursday that the department's fleet "maintains an acceptable level of readiness." But he also says the department needs to change to keep up with the call volume in the fast-growing city. Ellerbe wants to redeploy some ambulances and make a major change to firefighters' work schedules.

Earlier this month, a D.C. police officer injured in a hit-and-run had to wait 15 minutes for an ambulance from Maryland. Fire officials say the department has 111 ambulances, but that only 58 of them are operational.

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