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D.C. Councilmember Wants Fire Chief to Step Down

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WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — A D.C. councilmember is calling on Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe to step down amid questions about the department’s ability to handle medical calls.

Councilmember Mary Cheh says in a letter that “the agency’s ability to respond to emergencies has been significantly degraded” and that Ellerbe “no longer has the confidence of the people of the district.”

The letter was sent Tuesday to Councilmember Tommy Wells, who chairs the committee that oversees the fire department.

Mayor Vincent Gray’s administration continues to back the chief. Deputy Mayor Paul Quander said in a statement Tuesday that the department “is in a much better position” than it was when Ellerbe took over. Quander says Ellerbe is the best person to continue improving the department.

In early March, an injured police officer had to wait 15 minutes for an ambulance from neighboring Prince George’s County, Md. The incident highlighted the strain on the department’s ambulance fleet.

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