Cecil Mills, 77, dies across the street from D.C. fire station
Updated: January 29, 2014 - 06:03 pm
(WJLA) - The investigation is growing into why D.C. firefighters ignored a woman’s plea for help after her father had a heart attack across the street from a firehouse last week. Medric Mills died while he waited for help. Now Mayor Gray is responding.
Marie Mills describes what happened last Saturday at the Northeast shopping center where her father, 77-year-old Mills, collapsed of a heart attack in a parking lot across Rhode Island Avenue from Engine 26 Fire Station.
"We looked across the street at the fire station. There was a firefighter that was actually standing against the fire apparatus that was in the fire station observing. Everybody started trying to wave him over."
But the firefighter reportedly told them he had to be dispatched first.
"I even ran to the curb and said, 'Are you going to help me or let my dad die?'" said Marie.
After the firefighter wouldn’t budge, a witness says he wouldn’t even help when asked by a police officer:
"The police department came first, he tried to even go get him and he said, 'no we can't come,'" explained Marion Barrow.
An ambulance was mistakenly dispatched to an address in Northwest instead of Northeast – 26 blocks away.
On Tuesday, Councilmember Tommy Wells released the following statement:
“This is a tragic incident and my heart goes out to the family of Cecil Mills. This man served DC his entire life and he deserved better. I am very concerned and I am investigating this matter through my committee on Judiciary and Public Safety. We have made inquiries with both the Office of Unified Communication and Fire and Emergency Medical Services.”
Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice Paul Quander is promising a full investigation into what happened at Engine 26.
"I ordered the fire fighters who were responsible to come in today," he said.
Investigators are now questioning 15 people.
During a news conference Wednesday, Mayor Vincent Gray said he called Mills last night to apologize for the firefighters’ lack of action and rejected the notion there was any excuse.
“You know common sense and common decency would say you go to somebody in distress,” Gray said.
“We are doing everything we can to make sure we find out what the facts are and then once we determine the facts we will act appropriately,” said Quander.
Cecil Mills had worked for the D.C. government for 47 years, and his daughter says he deserved better than this.
"Heartless...heartless...because the person stood there and watched the entire thing and did nothing to help."
The Ambulance Union President also says the firehouse had all the necessary personnel and equipment to have tried to save a life – had they bothered to walk across the street.
"Five individual had access...nobody went over," said Kenneth Lyons.