D.C.’s New Fire Chief Speaks

A 27-year veteran of the Washington D.C. Fire Department has returned to the District to become the new chief.

Kenneth B. Ellerbe, who most recently served for 16 months as the fire chief in Sarasota, Florida, will now lead the 2,200 members of the District's Fire and Emergency Medical Department.

"One of the things that I want to do," he told NBC4's Kimberly Suiters on Saturday, "is to create a different atmosphere in the department.  One that is more transformational, where we engage our employees and engage our community, and we have a better relationship with the media."

Ellerbe's roots in D.C. run deep.  He graduated from Coolidge High School in 1978, and went on to attend Howard University.  He rose through the ranks of the city's fire department, and held many leadership roles, including manager of emergency operations and director of training. 

Ellerbe currently resides in Southeast D.C.

"I like to look at my style as a transformational style," Ellerbe said. 

He said he has spent his first week on the job gathering feedback from the members of the department.  The new chief said he plans on establishing a stakeholder group to communicate with the residents of the District regularly.

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