Fire EMS, Firefighter Training, Firefighting

D.C. Firefighter Files Assault Report Against Chief

A D.C. firefighter filed a police complaint accusing Fire Chief Kenneth B. Ellerbe of assault, pointing to an encounter last week when the chief showed up on the scene of an ambulance fire and grabbed the man’s cell phone from his hand, reports The Washington Times.

The report, made available Wednesday, states “the suspect grabbed and removed a cellular telephone” from the 33-year-old firefighter’s hand, causing injury to his right wrist. Chief Ellerbe is not named in the report but a police spokeswoman provided the report number when asked about a complaint involving the fire chief and D.C. officials have confirmed the investigation.

The report centers on an Aug. 13 encounter in which an ambulance caught fire in Southeast D.C. while responding to a medical call. Photos and videos taken at the scene, which captured the department’s embarrassing moment, were widely distributed through social media that day.

The firefighter was one of those who responded to the scene after the fire was reported and was still there when the chief arrived.

Firefighters’ union representative Dabney Hudson said he was the one who published a photo of the ambulance ablaze on the union’s Twitter account and said he did not receive the photo from the firefighter in question.

The complaint was filed Tuesday, after days of rumors and speculation within the D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services ranks that Chief Ellerbe had been charged with assault. Washingtonian magazine first reported on the incident.

Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice, Paul A. Quander Jr., said Wednesday that the complaint would be investigated.

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