DC fire chief says firefighters deserve tougher discipline - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

DC fire chief says firefighters deserve tougher discipline

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Medric "Cecil" Mills Jr. Medric "Cecil" Mills Jr.
WASHINGTON - D.C.'s interim fire chief handed out discipline Thursday to three of the five firefighters who failed to help a dying man outside a firehouse last January.  None of them are losing their jobs.  In fact, one was found not guilty, one was given a reprimand, and one was given a lengthy suspension. 

It did not sit well with the chief, who called the punishment “not severe enough.”

Under the collective bargaining agreement, Chief Eugene Jones can only accept, reduce or dismiss the penalties recommended by the trial board. As for the family of Cecil Mills? They said the members of the trial boards should be “ashamed of themselves.”

When Cecil Mills collapsed across the street from a firehouse last January, five firefighters were inside.  All of them were assigned to Truck 15.  Lt. Kellene Davis was in charge of the truck and the firehouse at the time, and a rookie, Remy Jones, was at the watch desk. Also on duty were Garrett Murphy, George Martin and David Dennis.

Although the news release from the fire department failed to name the firefighters or their punishment, FOX 5 has learned Garrett Murphy was suspended without pay for a week and a half. Murphy was accused of talking to the rookie about the emergency across the street, and the told Lt. Davis but never left the firehouse.

David Dennis was given a reprimand for allegedly ignoring calls for help from rookie Remy Jones, and George Martin was found not guilty.  He told investigators he didn't know Mr. Mills needed immediate help.

At the northeast D.C. home of Cecil Mills on Thursday, we were told no comment, but later the family issued a statement which reads in part, ”The Mills family is deeply disappointed, but not truly surprised by the secret trial board panel recommendations. This is what happens when investigations are done in the dark... we find it appalling that any one of the five firefighters/EMTs in the fire station on January 25, 2014 could be found ‘not guilty.'”

Cecil Mills waited at least nine minutes for help that day, and later died at the hospital. Even the dispatch went wrong, with initial help being sent to northwest instead of northeast Washington.

City Council Chair Phil Mendelson said the Mills case touched a nerve in the city because people expect help when they need it.

"Without wanting to comment on specific individuals, I think it's appropriate to send a signal to the rank and file that they need to respond when somebody's in need and that's really what this case was about,” he said.

As for the rookie, Remy Jones? We know he was taken off the street and put to work in the chief's office after receiving threats. One source familiar with the investigation says he will be receiving some discipline but it's unclear what that is. 

The lieutenant in charge of the truck that day, Kellene Davis, was allowed to retire before receiving any discipline.

Garrett Murphy declined to comment on the punishment he received.  We were unable to reach Dennis or Martin. 

The Mills family has filed a letter of intent to sue the city, and in their statement today indicated they will now move forward with those plans.

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