D.C. Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe Set to Retire Wednesday - NBC4 Washington

D.C. Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe Set to Retire Wednesday



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    D.C. Fire and EMS Chief Kenneth Ellerbe

    A farewell dinner will be held for D.C Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe Tuesday night as he prepares to leave the department he led for three years.

    Ellerbe announced his retirement last month amid intense scrutiny and complaints of poor service in the department.

    His retirement becomes effective Wednesday. 

    “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 said in a statement released last month .

    Ellerbe, who spent 31 years with DC Fire and EMS, said he was not pushed aside and is retiring voluntarily.

    The agency has been under intense scrutiny during Ellerbe’s tenure. News4 has reported paramedic shortages, ambulance breakdowns and slow response times.

    In recent months, D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services employees were questioned for alleged inaction after a D.C. man collapsed and died across the street from a city firehouse.

    Ellerbe has also been criticized by the local firefighters’ union, International Association of Firefighters Local 36, for his handling of the agency, its workforce and policies.

    Assistant Chief Eugene Jones will take over the department on an interim basis, beginning July 2, Jones, a longtime member of the Prince George’s Fire Department, joined D.C. FEMS in November 2013.

    Ellerbe said his leadership helped eliminate budget crunches, created by excessive overtime pay, that existed before his tenure began.