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Report Places Blame On Lieutenant, Firefighters For Death Of D.C. Man

Medric Mills died across the street from a D.C. fire station, and was not helped by any of the firefighters there.
Chris Chester/WAMU
Medric Mills died across the street from a D.C. fire station, and was not helped by any of the firefighters there.

A report on the death of a man who died across the street from a D.C. fire station in late January finds that a lieutenant and four firefighters failed to respond to calls for help from the man's daughter and passers-by.

According to the report, a probationary firefighter called for help from the lieutenant after he was told that Medric Mills had collapsed along a sidewalk on Rhode Island Avenue on the afternoon of January 25. The lieutenant never responded.

A firefighter in the station who eventually found the lieutenant was asked to determine where exactly Mills had collapsed, but he did not come back to the lieutenant with the information.

No ambulance or fire truck was ever deployed from the station, and no log was made of the request for help. The lieutenant did not mention the incident to their superior.

An ambulance that was flagged down by a D.C. police officer eventually reached Mills 11 minutes after he had collapsed. He subsequently died at the Washington Hospital Center.

"All five employees were aware of a medical issue in which assistance was requested; however, none took any action to provide assistance," says the report, which was conducted by the Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice Paul Quander.

The report says that a 911 dispatcher incorrectly inputted the address as being in Northwest instead of Northeast, delaying an ambulance's arrival from another station.

One of the firefighters at fault has been charged and is scheduled to appear before a trial board in March, while four 911 dispatchers have been recommended for disciplinary action. Charges against the three other firefighters are pending, and the lieutenant has filed retirement papers.

The report says that D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services will review dispatch protocols and technology, as well as issue a memorandum to firefighters stating that they should respond to residents in need whether or not they have been dispatched.

The D.C. Council will hold a hearing on the incident on Monday.

Final Rhode Island Report

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