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DC chief: firefighters deserve tougher discipline

Thursday - 8/21/2014, 3:49pm  ET

The D.C. fire station outside which Medric Cecil Mills Jr. went into cardiac arrest Jan. 25, 2014. (WTOP/Andrew Mollenbeck)

WASHINGTON -- The interim fire chief in the nation's capital says he's frustrated that he can't issue stronger disciplinary sanctions against three firefighters who didn't help a dying man across the street from a fire station.

Interim D.C. Fire Chief Eugene Jones said Thursday that he "has begrudgingly accepted" the discipline recommended by trial boards for three firefighters. One was suspended, one was reprimanded and one was found not guilty. The chief can only accept or reduce disciplinary actions.

Medric Cecil Mills Jr. went into cardiac arrest across from a fire station on Jan. 25. According to an internal report, five firefighters inside the station were aware that someone needed help, but none provided any aid. A police officer flagged down an ambulance, and Mills later died at a hospital.

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Statement from Mayor Vincent Gray: The Mayor is outraged and deeply disappointed by today's Trial Board decisions. "They confirm that the FEMS disciplinary system - as codified by the city's past agreement with the union - must be reformed. Justice was not done today. We owe it to Mr. Mills to fix a system that is clearly broken."