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Home > EMS Products > Ambulances

Daughter: DC firefighters refused to cross street to save dying father

Her father suffered a heart attack across the street from a firehouse; the firefighters stayed put, another ambulance got lost, and the city worker died


WASHINGTON — A man collapses right across the street from a D.C. firehouse, but no one comes to help. It happened Saturday afternoon in Northeast D.C. when Medric "Cecil" Mills Jr., 77, suffered a massive heart attack in a shopping center parking lot. He later died.

The man’s daughter, Marie Mills, says several people ran to Engine 26 for help, but their desperate pleas went unanswered. "When it's a cardiac case, seconds matter and they didn't help my dad,” Mills said. She was still in disbelief when we spoke with her outside the family home in Northeast D.C. Monday.

Late Saturday afternoon, Mills says she was running errands with her father when he collapsed in a shopping center parking lot in the 1300 block of Rhode Island Avenue, NE. Mills said they could see a firefighter standing in the open doorway of the firehouse, but he wasn’t moving.

Full story: Daughter of dying DC man says firefighter ignored pleas for help

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Sharon McGehee Sharon McGehee Wednesday, January 29, 2014 7:07:01 PM Sounds like typical DC crap. Sounds like nothing has improved in that area. Between running out of gas and now a man dying because of lazy fire fighters. I'm sorry if you could see someone in need of help and you are on duty. You are legally obligated to respond.
Jessica Hastings Jessica Hastings Wednesday, January 29, 2014 7:11:41 PM Forget about being legally obligated to respond - DO THE RIGHT DARN THING. Really have no words to say on this one. It's disgraceful.
Brian Richard Brian Richard Wednesday, January 29, 2014 7:20:40 PM Policies might have not allowed them to go unless dispatched. Or maybe the firefighters aren't EMTs. Idk nothing with facts in this article. And how did the daughter know about cardiac events. She look on webmd or something. More to this story
Davison Thomas Davison Thomas Wednesday, January 29, 2014 7:31:55 PM When it is about a life, you don't need to be dispatched. Someone can just knock on the door asking for help. The dispatch can be taken care of later. The FF should at least know first aid/CPR. Even if for some reason you are out of your jurisdiction and you see a life and death emergency, you have a duty to act. The red tape and bs will get worked out later and the tax payer will appreciate the response.
Dustin Shadowens Dustin Shadowens Wednesday, January 29, 2014 7:32:50 PM I just don't believe this to be true. I can't imagine them just setting there. There is more of the story that isn't being told.
Dave Moran Dave Moran Wednesday, January 29, 2014 7:36:38 PM Policies???? Human life dude!!!
Robbie Carpenter Robbie Carpenter Wednesday, January 29, 2014 7:48:56 PM All firefighters are required to hold a current CPR card. If this is true then someone should have to answer for it.
Dru Ross Dru Ross Wednesday, January 29, 2014 7:50:37 PM OK...Lets look at it from a policy standpoint. Every, and I do mean every state in the union has laws that govern emergency responders. These laws supersede any jurisdictional law that the county or service may have. Every state has a duty to act clause, in varying forms. But in all of them, if you are present at an incident, or are notified of an incident, and are on duty, you are obligated to respond. Period. If the firefighters truly were negligent to respond then they should lose their jobs. However, I do not see a great deal of fact presented in this case. Just we will see.
Eric Justice Eric Justice Wednesday, January 29, 2014 8:02:03 PM wow is all i can say down here in texas we would never over look anyone in need dont know what happend in this story but i know what we would have done in a case like this sad story
Gary Doxon Gary Doxon Wednesday, January 29, 2014 8:22:47 PM I don't like hearing this! As a Volunteer FF/EMT, I would not / could not stand by and let this happen! And I know my local Brothers/ Sisters would be the same. Must be the difference between large cities and small towns. Of Course as many of you stated, it is DC, and we all know is a mess on all levels!
Joe Nichols Joe Nichols Wednesday, January 29, 2014 9:54:54 PM Pretty sure they are going to be fired
Luke Donnelly Luke Donnelly Thursday, January 30, 2014 4:40:23 AM This coming from the territory just named #1 in the country for emergency medicine.
Ed Hillenbrand Ed Hillenbrand Thursday, January 30, 2014 6:54:03 AM Isn't stupid answers like 'I was only following protocol' why we hung a bunch of Nazi b*stards after Nuremberg?
Tim Carducci Tim Carducci Thursday, January 30, 2014 7:24:14 AM Are you sure it's not just bullshit people wanting money.
Christina Emery Christina Emery Thursday, January 30, 2014 7:47:20 AM there is more to this story than we know.
Ryan Ramsey Ryan Ramsey Thursday, January 30, 2014 11:22:47 AM Does a firefighter (non EMT) have a 'duty to act' with CPR as an on duty EMT would be required?
Michael D. Smith Michael D. Smith Thursday, January 30, 2014 11:56:15 AM Davison Thomas: actually duty to act does not go into effect until you are summoned or dispatched. Even then only trained personnel have a duty. How do we know that was a duly trained ff? Might have been a recruit, a part-time employee with no scope to have a duty or even a student doing his ride time. With all the problems in DC, ff's getting disciplined and suspended for stepping outside prescribed policy, can you really blame someone?
Michael D. Smith Michael D. Smith Thursday, January 30, 2014 11:58:25 AM Nope
Davison Thomas Davison Thomas Thursday, January 30, 2014 12:55:24 PM Michael D. Smith Details are what we do not have at this time. But lets just say this was a FF, recruit or not it does not matter. So..if you are on duty, leaving the hospital from a call and observe a car accident, you won't stop and make sure everyone is ok. smh If I am on duty dispatched or not and someone tells me a person is in need across the street. I won't stand playing with my thumbs. Tell them to call 911 when I am 911. ijs
Michael D. Smith Michael D. Smith Thursday, January 30, 2014 1:02:31 PM Davison Thomas: id didn't say that I wouldn't act, Im just saying that in order for a "duty to act" by Law you have to meet a few criteria. Just being present at a fire house does not give you the duty to act. You are correct we should not jump to judgement until we have the details.
Davison Thomas Davison Thomas Thursday, January 30, 2014 1:08:25 PM Yes, he does. IF, he is trained in CPR and that is what is needed. All FF should be first responders and CPR is a skill a first responder knows. At the minimum he can do compressions. This is just a sad case. Everyone is scared to get sued. So instead of doing the right thing they jump through loop holes. Sorry for the people in DC.
Michael D. Smith Michael D. Smith Thursday, January 30, 2014 1:13:50 PM Davison Thomas Perhaps in florida FF have a duty to respond to medical calls, in most states they do not! If there is a fire then they have a duty to respond. Keeps CPR/first aiders from responding to medical calls they are not trained and or equipped to do.
Davison Thomas Davison Thomas Thursday, January 30, 2014 1:17:43 PM Michael D. Smith Let just make sure we take care of the people where we serve. I will know not to expect much in DC.
Michael D. Smith Michael D. Smith Thursday, January 30, 2014 1:36:50 PM Davison Thomas Agreed!!! be safe!
Mike Ludke Mike Ludke Thursday, January 30, 2014 3:03:03 PM some fire depts. do only have fire fighters and no one crossed trained or do not deal with ems or first responder type calls cause it causes head acks and yes it sucks for her dad and the family but I take it that they let the ems deal with it and had no ems or cross trained people
Aasia Franco Aasia Franco Thursday, January 30, 2014 3:05:09 PM Very disgusted even if only a F.F and not a medic they should be able to help in a cardiac situation sadly we will never know if this man would of survived. They should be ashamed of themselves.
Mike Ludke Mike Ludke Thursday, January 30, 2014 3:05:31 PM also with buget cuts lots of depts. are letting the ems side go and they are just letting the ambulance services deal with all ems calls and the fire is just going to start taking fire and crash calls or rescue calls
Alan Yates Alan Yates Thursday, January 30, 2014 5:40:52 PM There's a lot unsaid here. I wouldn't want to jump in without knowing the facts and all of you "pros" from out of the area need to do the same. It ain't your yard and you don't know the rules or the situation.
Robert Johnson Robert Johnson Thursday, January 30, 2014 6:31:56 PM No policy exist that keeps us from responding when some one rings the bell on th e front door. It is called a still alarm we go. Always! Anything other then this is neglect!
Lennard Fadlen Lennard Fadlen Thursday, January 30, 2014 6:32:05 PM policies my ass , your a human and when you have the capabilities to help another do it! stupid reasoning
Robert Johnson Robert Johnson Thursday, January 30, 2014 6:35:08 PM All metropolitan Fire Departments mandates that we are EMT's at a minimum. This is the national standard. But not in DC? Something does not add up here.
Rich Kuklentz Rich Kuklentz Friday, January 31, 2014 8:21:08 AM probably a union thing !!
Jennifer Bolton Rutland Jennifer Bolton Rutland Saturday, February 01, 2014 1:28:10 AM If you could see someone laying out on the ground and people were begging for help, how could YOU as a PERSON not to mention EMT/MEDIC/Fireman not go over to help?!?!
Kenneth E. Ray Kenneth E. Ray Saturday, February 01, 2014 2:53:19 PM Firehouses everywhere will be a beacon of hope for the public anywhere and at anytime. It is a damn shame that this happened. I guarantee you that if smoke and flame had been pouring out of front of one of those stores, the response would have been completely different!
Mike Tragesser Mike Tragesser Friday, February 07, 2014 3:38:12 PM I am astonished by the speculation here that there are any mitigating circumstances that would prevent any firefighter anywhere from aiding any victim. In 38 years of service and dozens of national conferences, I have never heard of anything like that. Certainly in D.C. as far as I am aware there are no protocols, union rules, or jurisdictional laws that supercede a duty to act in the event of a human life safety emergency. That is the top priority we are there for. Please name the rule and jurisdiction that you are referring to.
Jamie Dussault Jamie Dussault Thursday, March 06, 2014 8:41:37 PM I agree... Has to be more to it!