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D.C. Fire Chief Accused Of Injuring Firefighter While Grabbing Phone

A D.C. ambulance caught on fire last week, and a photograph of the ambulance was tweeted out by the firefighters' union.
Photo via International Association of Firefighters Local 36
A D.C. ambulance caught on fire last week, and a photograph of the ambulance was tweeted out by the firefighters' union.

A D.C. firefighter is accusing the city's fire chief of injuring him when he grabbed the firefighter's cell phone at the scene of an ambulance fire last week.

Firefighter Sean Griffith has filed a complaint with police, saying a suspect grabbed his phone after confronting firefighters about a picture of a burning ambulance that appeared on the firefighters union's Twitter account.

Ellerbe says an assault allegation had been made against him. He says he didn't snatch the phone, but instead asked for it. D.C. police will investigate the claim and consult with the U.S. attorney's office. No charges have been filed.

The claim comes amid a continuing fight between Ellerbe and rank-and-file firefighters, who point to a spate of ambulance fires as evidence that the department has fallen into disrepair under his watch. Despite hints from D.C. officials that the fires were suspicious, a preliminary investigation found that they were accidental.


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