D.C. EMTs Accused of Lying About Rescue

Alleged delayed response ends with death of elderly woman

By Jackie Bensen and Tonya LaFleur
|  Friday, Nov 12, 2010  |  Updated 7:15 AM EDT
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D.C. EMTs Accused of Lying About Rescue

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The D.C. Fire Department is looking into allegations that two firefighters lied about the location of their ambulance -- delaying their response to a call in which a woman died, NBC4 has learned.

At about 6 a.m. on September 29, emergency responders from Fire House 11 in Columbia Heights were sent on a medical emergency call just a few blocks away. Christina Chavarria, 72, was bleeding uncontrollably from a shunt in her neck.

A fire engine arrived at the Oak Street NW location in just six minutes.  Sources told NBC4 the firefighters frantically radioed the dispatch asking, “Where is the ambulance?”

The ambulance arrived 16 minutes after that radio call, according to a timeline obtained by NBC4.   Chavarria eventually died from her injuries.

Chavarria's son told NBC4 that, like the firefighters, he also wondered why the ambulance didn't arrive faster.

The EMTs actions are under investigation by D.C. Fire & EMS.

Sources told NBC4 that a GPS tracker placed the EMTs' ambulance more than three miles away at a fire station at Fourth and Rhode Island Avenue NE -- where they began and would end their shift.  The EMTs were supposed to be at a station that was only seconds away from the woman’s location.

A spokesperson for D.C. Fire & EMS told NBC4 that he was unable to comment on the matter.

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