The Washingtonian’s Harry Jaffe reports there was an incident involving Chief Kenneth Ellerbe at the scene of the first of two ambulance fires in DC last Tuesday. It involved the smartphone of an on-duty firefighter who was at the scene and the chief’s concern about the pictures of the burning ambulance already on the Internet.
“The fire chief accused him of taking pictures and snatched the phone out of his hand,” says Ed Smith, president of the DC Firefighters Association. “He gave it right back to him.”
The firefighter, who has not come forward, felt ill and went to the police and fire clinic for assistance. He filed a report, naming the chief and describing his actions. After the indent, the firefighter went on sick leave for stress. He declined to be interviewed.
“He’s having a hard time,” Smith says. “He’s scared, he’s nervous. He’s still deciding what to do.”
Ellerbe’s encounter with the firefighter over the ambulance fire fits the union’s narrative of a boss who’s out of touch with his troops.
“Instead of worrying about the safety of his people,” Ed Smith tells Washingtonian, “he confronted his people.”
Smith says he advised the firefighter to file a complaint with the department’s Equal Employment Opportunity Office.
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Also on STATter911 …
- UPDATE: Assault complaint filed against DC Chief Kenneth Ellerbe. Firefighter says his cellphone forcibly taken after ambulance burned. – August 21, 2013
- Getting uglier in DC: Deputy Mayor strongly defends getting police on the burning ambulances case. Union shows picture of street sign being used as an engine heat shield. – August 14, 2013
- UPDATE – DC fire chief admits bad information about fleet given to city council. Ellerbe says maintenance chief at fault will retire. Thanks union for bringing it to light despite mayor’s aide saying IAFF is ‘fabricating’ apparatus stories. – March 13, 2013
- DC update: Washington Post editorial again backs Chief Ellerbe. TV station gets documents that confirms department’s staffing issues. – August 23, 2013
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