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Washington, DC Firefighters refuse to help dying man

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 Washington DC firefighters refused to help Medric "Cecil" Mills Jr, pictured, three times despite the fact he had collapsed right across the street from their firehouse and told concerned witnesses to call 911. Source: Supplied
Washington DC firefighters refused to help Medric "Cecil" Mills Jr, pictured, three times despite the fact he had collapsed right across the street from their firehouse and told concerned witnesses to call 911. Source: Supplied

THREE times people people went to a DC firehouse seeking help for a man who had collapsed across the street but they were told to call 911.

The Washington Post reports that Marie Mills held her 77-year-old father, Medric "Cecil" Mills Jr, in her arms in a Washington, DC, car park after he suffered a massive heart attack.

The pair was at a shopping centre to drop off a broken computer at a repair shop. They were walking out when Mr Mills stopped talking and tumbled to the pavement.

A number of witnesses noticed a firehouse across the street and raced to get help only to be told by firefighters that they couldn't respond unless someone called 911.

"Can you just come and help my dad?" Ms Mills screamed. "What are you going to do, let my dad die in the street?"

"Several people told me the guy behind the door wouldn’t open the door,” Ms Mills said. "He told them, ‘There’s nothing I can do if my lieutenant doesn’t tell me to go.'"

She said the same firefighter was seen later in the open bay door, leaning against a truck, with his arms folded.

Marie Mills

Heartbroken ... Marie Mills tried to get help for her father who had collapsed following a massive heart attack but despite a firehouse being right across the street, firefighters told her to call 911.

It took about 20 minutes for help to arrive and only then because a police officer flagged down a passing ambulance.

However it was too late - Mr Mills died later that afternoon.

"There are no words to describe how this city has failed," Ms Mills said.

His death is being investigated and 15 firefighters on duty that day have been called in to headquarters to explain their lack of action.

Neither side disputes the claim of how events transpired.

"I’m quite disturbed and disappointed by what appears to be an inappropriate response," said Paul A. Quander Jr., the deputy mayor for public safety.

Firehouse in Washington DC

The firehouse in Washington DC that refused to help a man that was dying across the road.

"Mr Mills was someone that worked for the District for a number of years, and the pain and the anguish that the family has gone through is unacceptable. There will be no rush to judgment, but we will be thorough, we will be precise and then we will act."

It comes despite Washington, DC being in the middle of implementing reforms about emergency responses after the 2006 death of retired New York Times reporter and editor David E. Rosenbaum, who died after emergency personnel mistook the effects of injuries from a vicious mugging for public intoxication and labelled the incident low-priority.

On New Year’s Day 2013, a 71-year-old man died of a heart attack after waiting more than 30 minutes for an ambulance on a day when one-third of the firefighters on duty had called in sick.

Edward Smith, president of the DC firefighters union, called Ms Mills to apologise.


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