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Man billed after father dies waiting for ambulance

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Durand Ford, Jr. says the District of Columbia Fire and Emergency Medical Service Department has sent him a $780.85 bill for an ambulance that he called for his father early on the morning of Jan. 1.

Ford tells News4 that his father died waiting for that ambulance, after it took more than 30 minutes to arrive.

“I feel angry. Upset,” Ford said. “I’m disturbed that we even received this bill.”

Ford said he and his family called 911 in the early hours of New Year's Day because his father, 71-year-old Durand Ford, Sr. had trouble breathing.

According to records, the 911 call was made at 1:25 a.m. A DC fire truck arrived only nine minutes later, but an ambulance was unavailable. According to Prince George’s County Fire & EMS records, DC Fire did not call Prince George’s County for assistance until 1:47 a.m. One minute later, the county dispatched an ambulance from Oxon Hill to go to Ford’s home in Southeast Washington. It arrived at 1:58 a.m.

By then, Ford had died.

“We’re still grieving about the situation,” Ford, Jr. said. “[We’re] very angry about what happened and the service we did not receive from the district.”

DC Councilwoman Yvette Alexander, who represents the Fords in Ward 7, tells News4’s Shomari Stone, “Based on my experience in similar circumstances, DC Fire & EMS has not billed.”

“This seems quite unusual, and I will help the family resolve this matter,” Alexander continued.

DC Fire & EMS did not return News4’s request for comment.