A D.C. firefighter, who officials said retired to his bunk to study for a promotional exam instead of helping a dying man outside a fire station in January, told investigators that he tried but failed to get colleagues to intervene, according to new documents released Wednesday.
Garrett Murphy told investigators that when his efforts failed, he stood in the bay door, watched the scene across the street and then went to read. The fire department is seeking to fire Murphy, calling his explanation and lack of action egregious.
“Murphy demonstrated even greater lack of concern for the patient by apparently doing nothing for 10 minutes, then going to his car, gathering his personal items and returning to the bunk room,” according to administrative charging documents outlining a case of alleged misconduct, negligence and neglect of duty.
Murphy, a seven-year veteran, is the fourth and final firefighter to undergo a disciplinary hearing after the Jan. 25 death of 77-year-old Medric “Cecil” Mills Jr., who collapsed near a firehouse on Rhode Island Avenue in Northeast and later died at a hospital of a heart attack. Murphy’s attorney has not returned repeated phone calls.
Firefighters inside the station failed to help Mills, telling at least two bystanders who had banged on the station’s door that they could do nothing until someone called 911 and they were dispatched.
All the hearings have been closed to the public, angering members of the Mills family, who point out that D.C. officials assured them that the investigation would be transparent.
Last week, disciplinary hearings were held for firefighters David Dennis and George Martin. Lt. Kellene Davis, a 28-year veteran who was in charge, faced a hearing in March but retired before a ruling could be announced. Decisions on the other firefighters could take weeks.
An internal report, completed earlier this year, suggested widespread dysfunction and indifference inside the station. The new documents filed in Murphy’s case show that firefighters are arguing over what each did or did not do.
Remy Jones, a probationary firefighter who first met the bystanders, said he twice broadcast an appeal for Davis to handle the situation. Murphy came to the bay door, Jones said, and learned that the man had collapsed across the street. “He said ‘ok’ and proceeded to watch the scene from the engine apparatus door,” Jones said, according to the documents. “I then asked if we could go over there and help and he stated that we weren’t dispatched on that fall. . . . He went back to the lieutenant and watched the scene a little more and went to the bunk room to take a nap.”
But Murphy said that he heard Jones’s calls over the intercom and that he went to talk to Jones to see what was happening. Murphy told investigators that he asked Jones if he had contacted communications, and he said “No.” Murphy said he immediately went to get Davis, who he said asked him for a more precise address. He said he didn’t see the lieutenant again, and with nobody doing anything, he went to his bunk.
While he was there, Murphy told investigators that Davis came in and asked, “How come we weren’t put on that run?” Murphy said he told her, “I have no idea.”