PELL CITY, Ala (WIAT) — A Central Alabama firefighter is back home with family after battling COVID-19 in the ICU for almost a month.
Pell City Fire Captain Jeff Rogers was hospitalized with the virus along with his mother and sister. Rogers was placed on a ventilator for about three weeks and learned his mother passed when he was taken off the machine.
“I looked to my left and that is where my mother always is when there is something good or bad going on and she wasn’t there. And that was the first thing I asked when I come out of my comma, and I asked my sister and she said, ‘We’re going to have to talk about that,'” Rogers said.
With Rogers still recovering, doctors were concerned about his health attending the funeral.
“That wasn’t an option for me. I was going,” Rogers said.
Any concerns medical staff members had were alleviated once fellow firefighters arrived to make sure he was able to say goodbye.
“My department, Pell City fire and Bessemer fire really come together and got me to the funeral and took care of me,” said Rogers.
The veteran firefighter was released from UAB West this week. His fire department escorted him home in the fire truck that he would typically take to emergencies.
“To see him come out of the hospital yesterday and to come home, it was happy tears for a change,” said Rogers’ sister, Kim Thrasher.
Thrasher, who was also hospitalized with the virus, recalled her uncertainty that her brother would be able to come home.
“It was very scary for us. There was a time where we were facing the possibility of losing him as well as my mom,” said Thrasher.
Rogers’ daughter recently gave birth to his second granddaughter. After he was released this week, he was able to hold her for the first time.
“You don’t know how much you are blessed until you go through something like this,” said Rogers.
With more physical therapy and recovery ahead, Rogers is getting stronger and is looking forward to returning to work. He’s urging others to take the virus seriously.
“The people I knew was sick for a couple of days and it was over and I took that for granted. I didn’t take it as serious as I should have. I was doing the precautions, facemask and all that,” said Rogers.
If all goes well, Rogers hopes to be able to get back to the fire service in early 2022.