Tommy Wells: D.C. fire and EMS responsible for "inexcusable" issues

WASHINGTON (AP) - D.C. Councilmember Tommy Wells says the city's fire and EMS department has been responsible for "one inexcusable catastrophe after another."

Wells made his comments in response to a letter from a city paramedic who lamented that the department was unable to save a 5-month-old girl who died of cardiac arrest.

Paramedic Jon Botwin wrote to the council that he was one of the paramedics who tried to help the girl last Thursday. But he says the two paramedics that were supposed to be stationed closest to the girl's home were absent that day. He says less than half of the city's 42 paramedic positions were staffed.

When it's fully staffed, the district has 35 front-line paramedics - less than half the number deployed by departments in similar cities.