D.C. Fire Chief Faces Council About Equipment Audit

D.C. Fire Chief Ken Ellerbe faced the D.C. Council to discuss on-going issues with the department.

The chief was grilled during an appearance before the D.C. Council on Wednesday, during which Councilman Tommy Wells questioned whether or not the maligned department had a handle on its personnel and equipment issues.

One of the issues facing Ellerbe is a 200-page audit which concluded that D.C. Fire’s fleet of trucks and ambulances was in poor condition and would only get worse over the next two decades.

During the session, Ellerbe admitted that just three of the District’s 23 ladder trucks are certified, and what more, the fire department requested no funding for fleet replacement in 2013.

In one specific case, Wells asked Ellerbe why his department had to borrow a fire tower truck from the Naval District of Washington to battle the massive fire that ultimately destroyed the historic Frager’s Hardware store in June.

Ellerbe said that D.C.’s truck was in the shop – again – and that if it were up to him, he’d scrap the truck entirely.

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