A 77-year-old man died after collapsing across the street from a fire station, where his daughter had asked for immediate assistance and was instead rebuffed by a firefighter who told her he couldn’t help unless dispatch instructed him to intervene.
The man, Medric Cecil Mills, collapsed near the Engine 26 fire station in the Brookland area of Washington, D.C. at about 2:30 p.m. on Saturday. His daughter, Marie Mills, went to the station to beg for immediate medical assistance. But the firefighter she encountered there told her that she had to first call 911 so that dispatch could instruct him to assist the dying man, according to The Washington Post.
“I even ran to the curb and said, ‘Are you going to help me or are you going to let my dad die?'” recalled Marie Mills in a statement to ABC 7.
Aid came too late for Mills, who passed away at the hospital, one hour later. (RELATED: Jail staff forget about woman in cell, wrongly imprisoned her for 5 months)
It is unclear how much of a delay was caused by the firefighter’s inaction. The ambulance that eventually came for Mills was first dispatched to a wrong address, 26 blocks away.
Edward C. Smith, president of the firefighters union, apologized on behalf of the department. D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray has promised that there will be an investigation into the matter.
“When you go to a fire station, you should expect that someone there is going to help you,” said Pedro Ribeiro, a spokesperson for the mayor, in a statement. “This gentleman was not served. We need to answer why he was not served.”
Ribeiro added that Mills should have been helped by the fire department, “protocol be damned.”