2 Members Of Kansas City Fire Department Die From COVID-19

Monday, November 23rd 2020, 3:12 pm
By: CBS News

Two members of the Kansas City Fire Department died this weekend after battling the coronavirus. Three employees with the department have now died from coronavirus, CBS affiliate KCTV reports.

A communications specialist and paramedic who worked for the department, Scott Davidson, 45, died Sunday, according to the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 42. A day earlier, city officials said fire Captain Robert "Bobby" Rocha died after battling COVID-19 for several weeks.

Rocha, 60, began at the fire department in 1991, fire department spokesman Jason Spreitzer said.

"His passing represents a personal loss to all of us who knew him. I cherish both his friendship and professionalism," Fire Chief Donna Lake said.

The firefighters union said the deaths show that the virus has affected all divisions of the fire department. In March, Kansas City Fire Department EMT Billy Birmingham was the first fire department employee to die from the virus.

Lake said all three men were respected employees who she considered friends.

"We grew up together on this department. We work together, we fight together, we live together, we eat together. We do everything like families do at work. And it's just… there are no words for the loss." Lake said.

Since the pandemic began, 176 members of the Kansas City Fire Department have tested positive for COVID-19, Spreitzer said. As of Saturday, 73 were still infected.

The city considers any fire department employee who contracts COVID-19 as having contracted it on the job, Spreitzer said.

COVID-19 cases are increasing at an alarming rate in the area. KCTV reports the seven-day average of new cases in the Kansas City region stood at 1,282 Sunday. The week before it was 1,078. Two weeks before it was 765.

First published on November 23, 2020 / 8:15 AM