(MIAMI) — After one of their own fell sick, the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue squad found a way to safely pay a visit to their coworker at the hospital.
Kenneth Wood, the battalion chief of Miami-Dade Fire Rescue 13, helped organize the visit to the unnamed firefighter, who has been hospitalized three times since March 19 due to complications with the coronavirus, according to Wood.
“The lieutenant [in the hospital] is one of mine that I’m responsible for,” said Wood, who added a few other members of his crew are also sick with coronavirus-like symptoms. “I set up a text group so that we could see how everybody’s feeling during the day and to keep the [camaraderie] going throughout the whole process. We mess around with each other, to keep things light.”
Together, with the help of Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Station 37, Station 36, Station 13 and the hospital, Wood said the fire squad used the fire truck ladder to visit the lieutenant on the fourth floor of the Florida hospital, that’s left unnamed for privacy, on April 3, 2020.
“You can’t really go visit [the sick firefighters], you’re not allowed to go visit them … [We visited] this lieutenant because he’s been the most sick,” said Wood. “I made the appropriate phone calls and we set it in place and set the time and then went out and did it.”
Firefighters from each station were able to take turns using the fire truck ladder to visit the sick lieutenant at his hospital window. Emotions were high, Wood said, and everybody could hear how excited and touched the lieutenant was during the visit.
“I think that [visiting him] really put things in perspective for everybody just how serious this whole thing is. He was short of breath the entire conversation and it was chilling the emotion in his voice,” said Wood, who has been colleagues with this lieutenant for about 16 years. “[He’s] been cooped up there with stress and he’s been isolated.”
Wood said the visit was a welcome break for the crew since most of their recent calls have been coronavirus-related and the crisis has taken a toll.
“Everything’s just been so negative lately,” said Wood. “So I think it was nice to finally have a good feeling, opposed to all the bad stuff that’s been happening.”
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