The incident, which the victim says occurred early Friday, is the latest in a string of problems besieging the fire department, including delays in response times and the provision of faulty fleet data to the D.C. Council. Still pending is a separate investigation into two fire academy trainers accused in February of making inappropriate sexual remarks to female cadets.
Tim Wilson, a spokesman for the D.C. fire department, and Gwendolyn Crump, the chief spokeswoman for the D.C. police, confirmed the latest investigation. They said the incident occurred about 1 a.m. Friday at a firehouse in the 2200 block of M Street NW, just north of Washington Circle Park.
According to the police report, the woman woke up to find a man touching her inner thigh. The report said she saw three men walk away — two of whom she recognized and identified, and a third she did not know. The two she named were put on administrative leave, Wilson said.
“We take this extremely seriously,” Wilson said of the allegations.
Crump would not comment on specifics of the case because it remains under investigation. No arrests had been made as of Monday evening. The 43-year-old female firefighter could not be reached for comment. The two firefighters named in the report — with seven and 13 years of experience — also could not be reached. The Washington Post does not name suspects who have not charged, nor does it name victims in sexual crimes.
Ed Smith, president of the D.C. fire union Local 36, said in a statement that “we are watching this situation closely and are concerned any time there are such allegations.” The labor group said it “urges the department to conduct a thorough investigation in a timely manner that is fair to all. “
Smith confirmed that the supervisors — two lieutenants and a captain — apparently failed to follow through on the woman’s complaint, causing a delay in the start of the investigation. A fire department official also confirmed that account and said any disciplinary action would come after the police investigators complete work on their criminal case.
D.C. police have classified the case as a misdemeanor sexual assault. Wilson said the female firefighter has been moved to a different firehouse and remains on active duty.