- - Monday, February 3, 2014

Am I the only one who has read about one misadventure after another with the D.C. fire department? Am I the only one who is unable to fathom how Fire Chief Kenneth B. Ellerbe manages to keep his job (“D.C. fire department to check 1,800 employee backgrounds,” Web, Jan. 28)?

In the nation’s capital, we have a fire department that suffers from a lack of operational ambulances and firetrucks. The fire chief could not even give the D.C. Council specific information about the availability or even the whereabouts of many pieces of equipment that were out of service.

When an ambulance caught on fire while on a call, the chief’s main concern seems to have been to prohibit any pictures of such incidents from being taken by department personnel.

News reports indicate that the fire department has gone backward under Chief Ellerbe vis-a-vis background checks on applicants. Now, Chief Ellerbe seems to have become invisible after the incident at Station 26.

This is a department that clearly suffers from a lack of leadership and undoubtedly sinking morale.

The obvious question then becomes, why does D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray refuse to replace Chief Ellerbe?

The mayor’s failure to take action to bring an end to Chief Ellerbe’s sad stewardship of the department should be something the voters seriously consider in the next mayoral election.

LAWRENCE SCHWEINSBURG

Crofton, Md.