Second Tuscaloosa firefighter tests positive for COVID-19, 26 others placed on paid leave

Local News

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — Tuscaloosa Fire Rescue Service has confirmed a second firefighter has tested positive for COVID-19, placing an additional 26 firefighters who were around them on paid leave.

Holly Whigham, public information officer for the TFRS, said the firefighter is quarantined at home and is resting. She said that out of an abundance of caution, the department placed 26 firefighters on paid administrative leave and have advised them to monitor for potential signs and symptoms.

“We would like to remind the community that our response capability has not changed, and the department remains fully capable of responding to their needs,” Whigham wrote in a statement.

On April 1, the department confirmed its first case of coronavirus with one firefighter. At that time, the department placed 24 firefighters on leave. It is not known whether or not any of them are now back at work.

The department employs 247 firefighters and first responders.

Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox tells CBS 42 everything is being done to protect first responders and residents in the community should not be worried.

“This speaks to the heroism of our first responders, they are willing to put themselves on the line to protect us each and every day,” Mayor Maddox said. “This is our second firefighter thats a confirmed case so as an ounce of precaution for those that work with him every day are going to be protected and safe.”

Mayor Maddox says the fire stations are being sanitized and disinfected as a precaution. He says the fire department has enough man power to get the job done.

“Today, we have 10% of our fire force that is out, but we still have 90% that is ready to go every single day to make certain the people of this community are safe,” Mayor Maddox said. “We have taken extra precaution in recent weeks that we have force readiness.”


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