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Surae Chinn
WUSA-TV, Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON — Two Washington, D.C., firefighters have been placed on paid administrative leave in the wake of firefighters refusing to respond to an emergency right across the street from the fire house.

On Saturday, Cecil Mills, 77, suffered from a massive heart attack on the sidewalk across the street from a fire house Saturday.

However despite pleas for help from Mills' daughter Marie, no firefighter came to her aid. Mills died on that sidewalk.

The lieutenant in charge at the time of the incident, Lt. Kellene Davis, is one of the firefighters on leave. Davis has been with the D.C. fire department for nearly 30 years.

This comes after outrage from the family upon hearing that the high-ranking firefighter went back to work Wednesday and was put on desk duty Thursday.

An ambulance responded roughly 15 minutes after Mills collapsed, only after a good Samaritan flagged it down.

An internal investigation is under way as to why the firefighters did not help Mills.

"We have to go through the administrative process. (Davis) came in provided her statement, now that we have the statement and the statement of others the process will work itself out. Appropriate actions will be taken," said Deputy Mayor of Public Safety, Paul Quander.

On Wednesday, Marie Mills said, "I stood on that corner and cried, 'Please help my dad. Please don't let my dad die.' When he wasn't getting up, my reaction was to go be with my dad."

When she begged the firefighter to come help she got no response.

"He just leaned up against the fire engine with his arms folded the entire time. I can't get that image out of my head," she said.

Strangers ran across the street to the fire house multiple times, but were told various excuses and that they needed to call 911, which they had.

Mayor Vincent Gray said he is outraged.

"Common sense and common decency would've said you go to someone in distress," said Gray. "Who in the world is going to punish someone for violating protocol but you save someone's life in the process? I'm not buying that."

The firefighters' union said protocol should have been to alert the entire house and run across the street to render help.

"We want to see justice done for Mr. Mills, his family," Quander said. "But we want to respect the rights of the employees. It will get done and it will be done shortly."

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