WASHINGTON – In an exclusive interview, a D.C. man told News4 that his father died on New Year’s Eve while waiting 40 minutes for an ambulance to arrive — the same night that dozens of D.C. firefighters called out sick.

Durand Ford Jr. told News4’s Shomari Stone that his father, Durand Ford Sr., went into cardiac arrest on New Year’s Eve and his family called 911 around 1 a.m. to request assistance.

“We’re even more saddened because of the circumstances that surround my father’s death,” Ford said.

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Ambulances in D.C. are staffed by firefighters — and on New Year’s eve, more than fifty of the District’s firefighters called out sick. It’s a number the firefighters’ union called “unusual,” though a spokesperson denied there was a coordinated sick-out that night.

According to records obtained by News4, at about 1:47 a.m. D.C. Fire asked Prince George’s County Fire for assistance in responding to Ford’s family’s call. About a minute later, an ambulance was dispatched from Oxon Hill — seven miles away from Ford’s Southeast D.C. home. The ambulance arrived in ten minutes.

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