DC Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe announces retirement - KMSP-TV

DC Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe announces retirement

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WASHINGTON - D.C. Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe is stepping down after a three-year tenure marred by complaints and controversies.

Mayor Vincent Gray confirmed Thursday that Ellerbe submitted his retirement paperwork.

In a phone interview, Ellerbe told FOX 5 that he was not pressured to step down, and it wasn't a request. He said his decision was a personal one.

Ellerbe had been under fire since the January death of Cecil Mills, an elderly D.C. man who suffered a heart attack near a fire station. An investigation claims cries for help from witnesses were ignored.

Ellerbe has also been involved in disputes with the department's labor union with each side blaming the other for problems like poor fleet maintenance and slow response times.

Assistant Chief Eugene Jones, who has been with the department for about a year and a half, will take over as interim chief.

"I'd like to thank Chief Ellerbe for all his years of service to the people of our city," said Mayor Gray. "His effort and dedication have been commendable, and I wish him well in all his future endeavors."

In a statement released Thursday, Ellerbe said, "This was a dream for me when I became a firefighter in 1982. I will be eternally grateful to Mayor Gray for believing in me. He showed tremendous strength and fortitude in allowing me to do this job."

Ellerbe will leave the department on July 2.

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