City officials say they are taking steps to prevent another spate of firefighter absences. (Getty Images)

On New Year’s Eve, the D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services department suffered a rare spate of sick firefighters, with nearly 100 not showing up for their shifts. That meant dozens of ambulances went unstaffed, and the results in one case may have been tragic: A Southeast man, Durand Ford Sr., died of a heart attack and waited about 40 minutes for an ambulance to arrive. There is debate over whether a faster response would have mattered and whether the high absentee rate that night was a wildcat job action or the product of bad luck and bad planning. But his son has spoken out to WRC-TV, and city leaders are stepping in to make sure inauguration weekend won’t see a reprise. Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe tells WRC-TV that he is taking steps that include taking quicker action to replace absent personnel. Meanwhile, the Ford death is under investigation, Ellerbe told me yesterday.

In other news:

Ethics board opens probe into Vincent Orange’s intervention in health department closing of wholesale market (D.C. Wire)

And, man, was that market nasty (City DeskWUSA-TV)

Behold the D.C. government’s $342,000 parade reviewing stand (D.C. WireDCistWJLA-TV)

Darrell Issa explains why he loves the District so (City Paper)

Accused drug kingpin Antoine Jones, central figure in seminal GPS case, could plea out (Post)

D.C. government’s “green jobs” sometimes involve handing out light bulbs (Loose Lips)

Will Obama’s license plate gesture signal a “new willingness by him to try to correct the injustices endured by the District”? (Post editorial)

Missing memo could reveal what Michelle Rhee knew about cheating allegations and when she knew it (Answer Sheet)

Anti-gay-marriage council members now head key committees handling gay community priorities (Blade)

Gray, asked about armed school guards, says he’s “open to that discussion” (Examiner)

A.J. Cooper leaves at-large race, endorses Elissa Silverman (D.C. WireExaminer)

Former at-large candidate Peter Shapiro also endorses Silverman (Informer)

Another columnist make hay out of Jack Evans’s inauguration demands (Blade)

Car drives off street, into C&O Canal (@WJGreenbergVox PopuliCity DeskWTOP)

Some guy stole a whole bunch of Blades — is it a hate crime? (Blade)

More reasons why Evans’ property tax relief bill is a bad idea (DCFPI)

The house is round, but is it historic? (DCist)

City officials still don’t like pot growing, but some are warming up to booze (Housing Complex)

Famed Smithsonian building will become “innovation pavilion” (AP)

It’s showtime for the Capitol Police — and new chief Kim Dine (PostWRC-TV)

Your guide to all the protest action (WaTimes)

The Ballou High marching band is ready to rock the parade (Post)

Pinch-hit prayer will come from St. John’s pastor (Post)

Sally Quinn explains why we even bother with a second inauguration (Post)

Taxi Commission okays $1 inauguration surcharge (WTOP)

No, Irv Nathan doesn’t know David Gregory or his lawyer wife [edit: except for that one time they met at that gala] (Legal Insurrection)

Magruder’s is dead; long live Magruder’s (Post)