Retiring D.C. Deputy Fire Chief Describes Culture of Fear

A retiring District of Columbia deputy fire chief delivered a scathing assessment of Chief Kenneth Ellerbe.

Kevin Byrne told the D.C. Council Friday that Ellerbe created a culture of fear and intimidation in the department.

Byrne blames that culture in part for the failure of firefighters to help a man who collapsed outside a fire station last month and later died. Officers and firefighters have been disciplined for breaking protocol to respond to an emergency, Byrne said.

Byrne also said Ellerbe “went to war” with his senior staff and has demoted and disciplined officers and firefighters in unprecedented numbers.

Ellerbe said he was “taken aback” by Byrne's comments. The chief said he has tried to be fair in the administration of discipline.


Copyright AP - Associated Press
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