4 employees from 911 dispatch center suspended for delayed respo - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

4 employees from 911 dispatch center suspended for delayed response in Cecil Mills death

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Medric Cecil Mills (Photo courtesy of the Mills family) Medric Cecil Mills (Photo courtesy of the Mills family)

There is new information in the investigation into the death of Cecil Mills. The 77-year-old man collapsed of a heart attack outside a D.C. firehouse in January and no one from the firehouse would come out to help.

FOX 5 has learned four members of the 911 dispatch center have been suspended without pay for their role in the delayed response.

On the day Mills collapsed outside a computer store and across the street from the firehouse, the 911 dispatch center sent help to the wrong quadrant of the city.

Even though the caller reporting the emergency clearly said the address was in Northeast, the ambulance and engine were sent to Northwest.

And that's not all. Even though Truck 15 was in quarters and available for service across the street, it was never put on the call.

When Mills collapsed outside a computer store he had just left with his daughter, the owner heard the cries for help and picked up the phone to call 911. And even though he repeated the address as being in Northeast D.C., the help was instead sent to Rhode Island Avenue in Northwest D.C.

It was a mistake that delayed the EMS care for Mills that ultimately arrived nine minutes later.

But the errors didn't stop there. For whatever reason, the dispatchers at the 911 center never put Truck 15 on the call even though it was in service and in the station across the street.

For those errors, the Office of Unified Communications, which conducted its own investigation, handed down suspensions.

A call taker and two radio operators each received three days without pay. The lead dispatcher received a 10-day suspension without pay.

FOX 5 has also learned one of the firefighter-EMTs who stopped to help Mills has been given a three-day suspension without pay.

A source familiar with the punishment said Bobby Martin has been charged with failing to comply with a direct order and insubordination even though he was on Ambulance 12 and made the decision to stay with Mills even though the dispatcher was telling him to continue on his assignment. The source said it was handed down in part because the firefighter did not show up at internal affairs when he was told to.

Martin declined to comment.

Next week, the fire department will hold two trial boards for two of the remaining three firefighters assigned to Truck 15 that day. One will be on Tuesday and the other held on Friday.

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