Cecil Mills, age 77, was a Washington, D.C., city worker who retired after 40 years. He died in front of a fire station when firefighters refused to help him during a heart attack. The firefighter on duty saw Mills collapse and despite the pleading of his daughter and several other people, the fireman still refused to move.
The fireman stated that he had to be dispatched first in order to help.
How could this happen?
The immediate response was that the firefighter who was seen leaning against the equipment was a recruit on probationary status. As such he was afraid he would be violating policy by taking action. Someone did call 911 and an ambulance was dispatched, but it went to the wrong address. By pure luck an ambulance was traveling down the street and was flagged down by one of the bystanders. Mills received emergency care and was transported to the hospital, but he later died. The blowback on this incident has affected the entire city.
“It’s an outrage … I was absolutely furious. Those who failed to respond as they should — they will be held accountable, period,” said D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray during a press conference.
According to a spokesman for the city, two employees of the Fire and Rescue division have been suspended with pay during the ongoing investigation.
Mills daughter, Marie Mills, had the following statement about the mayor’s response: “I appreciate how seriously he is taking this because it never should have happened.”