Cecil Mills death the subject of D.C. Council hearing

WASHINGTON (WJLA) - The D.C. Council held a hearing Monday on the death of Cecil Mills, the longtime District employee who died of cardiac arrest when firefighters at a station across the street refused to help him because they claimed they had to be dispatched first.

Other problems with the DC Fire/EMS department were also addressed.

The hearing comes on the heels of a 13-page review of Mills' death by the city's deputy mayor of public safety that placed the blame on the shoulders of the personnel at the station.

D.C. councilmember Tommy Wells, who chairs the council's public safety committee, referred back to January 25, when Mills fell with a heart attack and despite repeated pleas to a firehouse across Rhode Island Avenue, the firefighters there did nothing.

Mills family members were among those in the audience at the hearing. His son said major change must happen.

"Blunders by the fire department have been going on for years and they've proved that they are unable to address their shortcomings internally," said Cecil Mills III.

Seated next to Mills were four others with stories of friends or family who died from what they called Fire/EMS incompetence.

Emergency room nurse Julie Moses' son Andre Rudder went with chest pains to a firehouse equipped with a defibrillator in 2009. They told him to wait for an ambulance:

"Many times you come to the ER and they have no pulse and we shock them,” Moses said. “We take them to the CAT lab. We check their arteries and boom they’re alive. My son was 35, no medical problems. He died from a heart attack that could have been saved."

Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe came and sat in the back but did not testify. Deputy Mayor Paul Quander, who prepared the report on what went wrong in Mills’ death, did testify.

911 tapes released show the desperation of Mills’ daughter as she waited for help that did not come.

{ }