Final farewell for Cecil Mills who died close to DC Firehouse

NORTHWEST, DC (WUSA9) -- Hundreds gathered for the funeral of 77-year-old Cecil Mills who died across the street from a firehouse.

His death has caused a fire storm with the DC Fire and EMS department after many claim fire fighter's from that engine company never came to his aid.

"Even though he has gone onto his great reward it still hurts us in our hearts," says William Taylor.

The line stretched outside of Canaan Baptist Church, the church Cecil Mills' father once founded located on the street with the same namesake. City leaders and hundreds of others came to say a final farewell to Mills.

"The service was awesome. He was a well liked man and it was showed by the crowd that was here," says Bobby Harris, the Pallbearer and a family friend.

Medric gave the eulogy for his father.

"It was a home going for his dad. I was proud of him."

While mourners gathered, there are two fire fighters including a lieutenant on paid leave. A rookie fire fighter has been reassigned following the tragic death. Mills collapsed at a shopping center across the street from Engine Co 26. The fire fighters there refused to help him even as his daughter and others begged for help.

"It's a sad occasion, the fire department took an oath to up hold which they didn't do so," says Keith Robinson, a family friend.

"What we've heard so far is unacceptable," says Phil Mendelson, (D) DC Council Chairman.

"The city let him down when he needed them he'd been there for everyone when he needed help the city was unable to do that," says Vincent Orange, (D) At-Large.

The family has called on change in what' is called the 'Public Duty Doctrine' which essentially protects the District from certain lawsuits. The call for change is something some city council members agree on.

"There should be exceptions to the rule. It reminds me of Katrina when no one wanted to do anything because it was a violation of the constitution while we watched people die on TV. There has to be a human element to all of this. I think now is the right time to examine it," says Orange.

The family hopes his death is not in vain, but for right now, they are celebrating Cecil Mills' life. The Navy war veteran, Mason, Shriner and neighborhood mayor, known to family as gaga. While some say the city let him down, District leaders, police officers and the community, he touched, came to say good bye.

Cecil Mills worked for the District's Parks and Recreation department for nearly 5 decades and was employed there up until his death.


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