Thursday, December 06, 2018

CM McDuffie's letter to DC Fire and EMS regarding the 1800 block of North Capitol Street NW fatal fire

Sent: Thursday, December 6, 2018 11:33 AM
Subject: [MPD-5D] Re: Structure Fire

Councilmember McDuffie asked me to share with the community a letter he sent yesterday to Fire & EMS Chief Dean asking for more details on the fire response and availability of equipment. You can view the letter at the link or the text of the letter are copied below.

December 5, 2018

Gregory M. Dean, Chief
Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department
2000 14th Street, NW, 5th Floor
Washington, DC 20009

Dear Chief Gregory Dean:

On December 4, 2018, a deadly fire took place on the 1800 block of North Capitol Street, NW. I want to first thank you and your members for courageously responding to the fire. I understand that your members responded within the timeline set forth by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

I was saddened to hear that a 96-year old Ward 5 resident passed away as a result of the fire. To that end, I want to inquire further into the details of the incident. As you may know, there are allegations that this response was deficient. I am told that the ladder truck that was critical to addressing the fire was, unfortunately, not located at the fire house that responded to the incident. Reportedly, it was reassigned because the Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department’s (Department) fleet requires new ladder trucks and, specifically, the responding fire house’s truck was sent to backfill another fire house’s ladder truck that was out for repair. I also understand that the responding ladder truck arrived two minutes later than the fire house that responded — albeit within NFPA standards.

Can you provide information on whether the Department’s lack of ladder trucks had any direct impact on the Department’s response time and performance during this incident? Please also indicate whether the Department needs additional ladder trucks and how you intend to implement the apparatus replacement schedule.

Again, I sincerely thank you and the members of the Department for your tireless service to our city. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me or have your staff contact my Deputy Chief of Staff, Barbara Mitchell, at or 202-724-8028.

In service,

Kenyan R. McDuffie
Councilmember, Ward 5

Cc: Mayor Muriel Bowser
Councilmember Charles Allen, Ward 6
Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Bertha G. Holliday, 5E07

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