CRIME

Beer discovery shuts down D.C. fire station

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An entire DC fire station in Northwest Washington was taken out of service Thursday after the fire chief walked into the station house and found a case of beer in the refrigerator.

Chief Kenneth Ellerbe tells WTOP/ABC 7 he immediately ordered Engine 9 out of service and had 15 firefighters and EMTs to undergo alcohol testing at the department's clinic.

"I was a bit dismayed, shocked, surprised." Ellerbe said about his discovery. "Our older members should have known better."

Ellerbe says all of the personnel tested negative for alcohol and have been allowed to return to duty, but the incident remains under investigation and the station's command staff is facing disciplinary action.

"There will be some consequences for this." Ellerbe said, "We want to send a strong message we take public safety very seriously."

Things were back to normal at Engine 9 Friday morning. The station, located in the 1600 block of U Street NW, was out of service for less than 2 hours according to Ellerbe.

"Coverage was not compromised" the Chief said.

Ellerbe says it appears the beer was a gift from some grateful residents, but command staff should have known better than to accept it.

"We can't have this kind of behavior." Ellerbe added some staff are facing possible suspensions. "The command staff will be appropriately reprimanded."

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