D.C. Fire Chief Tells City Council Flawed Data Used for Nearly a Year

Washington D.C. Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe acknowledged that he led his agency for about a year using faulty data about the state of its fleet, reports The Washington Examiner.

“We were operating with an outdated list,” said Ellerbe, who told lawmakers that current statistics show that nearly half of the District’s 111 ambulances are out of service. “It was inaccurate for approximately a year.”

D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson was incredulous.

“I just don’t understand how the chief of the fire and EMS department would not know how many vehicles are available,” Mendelson said as lawmakers continued to absorb a scathing report from the D.C. inspector general that said the department’s fleet was unprepared for a catastrophic emergency.

Ellerbe also issued a public apology for the high-profile ambulance shortages that led to fresh criticisms of the department. “I’d like to offer my sincere apology to the patients and families,” Ellerbe said. “I am deeply troubled by each of these incidents.”

Edward Smith, president of the union that represents D.C. firefighters, used the review to take aim at Ellerbe’s track record.

“The D.C. Fire and EMS Department is living on borrowed time,” said Smith, whose members voted Monday to declare they had “no confidence” in Ellerbe, a rebuke that did not move city leaders. “This unfortunate set of circumstances has happened because of the backward priorities of Chief Kenneth Ellerbe,” Smith said.

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