Cecil Mills' son has public exchange with DC fire chief at commu - FOX 35 News Orlando

Cecil Mills' son has public exchange with DC fire chief at community meeting

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D.C. Fire and EMS Chief Kenneth Ellerbe D.C. Fire and EMS Chief Kenneth Ellerbe
Medric Mills, the son of Cecil Mills Medric Mills, the son of Cecil Mills
Medric Cecil Mills (Photo courtesy of the Mills family) Medric Cecil Mills (Photo courtesy of the Mills family)

D.C. Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe is used to being on the hot seat and Thursday night was no exception. Ellerbe spoke at a community meeting in the same Northeast D.C. neighborhood where members of his department failed to help an elderly man.

The death of Cecil Mills has captured headlines in the two months since he died after he collapsed across the street from a fire station.

Members of Mills’ family attended the meeting, but what we didn't expect was Mills’ son, Medric, speaking out in that meeting and giving the chief a piece of his mind.

The two of them actually went to the same D.C. high school together.

“What are you going to do to get this rectified? Why is there not anyone of these folks in this room able to go into a trial fire board as a resident of the District of Columbia and to sit there and hold you guys accountable?

“I have no influence over the fire trial board until a decision is rendered and sent to the chief,” said Chief Ellerbe. “In addition to that, I don't get involved in the process [in order to prevent] me or anybody else exerting undue influence over the process.

The fire trial board is the internal disciplinary panel that is deciding the fate of five firefighters who were inside Engine 26 in Northeast D.C. on January 25, but failed to help Cecil Mills, who was suffering a heart attack across the street from the fire station.

Mills’ daughter was also at Thursday’s community meeting and was among those who rushed to the station's door and pleaded for them to help.

People are still very angry.

“You're in charge of these folks. What have you done?” said one person at the meeting.

Ellerbe said details from the firefighters about what exactly happened inside the firehouse the day Mills died can't be made public until the trial board makes its disciplinary decisions.

“Because if it ends up on the news, if it ends up being disseminated, then the employee has the ability to say there was some influence over the outcome,” said Chief Ellerbe.

Mills’ son said the system is broken.

“I want to know,” said Medric Mills. “I even want to talk to the people involved if you will allow it. I don't want to fight nobody. I don't want to hurt nobody. I just want to ask questions. The reason I want to ask questions is because I don't have a father. My kids, my niece, they don't have a grandfather. My mother doesn't have a husband.”

Just before the meeting, Chief Ellerbe agreed to speak about his personal connection with 77-year-old Mills, who was a longtime city employee. The chief previously said they knew each other, but now we know exactly how.

“Mr. Mills and I belonged to a fraternal organization together,” said Ellerbe. “His son went to Coolidge where I went. But I also knew him because I would see him on U Street across from Ben’s [Chili Bowl] next door. Last time, his granddaughter danced at the Kennedy Center. I gave him $20 to contribute to her fundraising.”

The chief said his mother retired from the D.C. Department of Recreation Parks while Mills was still working there.

The Mills family said they want change so what happened to their father never happens again.

The trial board is still deliberating.

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