While New York City has become widely known as the epicenter of America’s coronavirus epidemic, Chicago has been struggling as well.
As of Thursday, the state of Illinois reported 946 fatalities stemming from COVID-19, with many of those deaths occurring in Cook County. Among the lives claimed were two Chicago firefighters.
Second Chicago firefighter dies of coronavirus
“It is with a heavy heart that I announce the loss of a second dedicated member of the Chicago Fire Department (CFD) family due to complications from COVID-19,” a local NBC affiliate quoted Chicago Fire Commissioner Richard C. Ford II as saying.
“We don’t need to lose another CFD member to understand the gravity of the circumstances that first responders are currently operating under,” Ford’s statement read.
“In the midst of our mourning the loss of yet another one of our brothers, CFD members must diligently follow guidelines and protocols in order to ensure the safety of themselves, the public they serve, and their families. Firefighter Singleton’s contributions and his spirit will live on forever.”
Singleton’s COVID-19 death comes on the heels of another Chicago firefighter’s passing. On April 7, the department revealed that 49-year-old Mario Araujo had also died due to complications arising from coronavirus. An individual who worked with him later tested positive but has since been recovering at home.
“Firefighter Araujo’s service will never be forgotten, and we ask that the entire city extend prayers for Firefighter Mario Araujo, his colleagues and his entire family,” read a Chicago Fire Department statement quoted by the NBC affiliate.
“CFD members put themselves in harm’s way without hesitation to selflessly uphold the oath they took to be there for every person they encounter during an emergency situation.”
Battalion 9 Chief James O’Donnell expressed a sense of helplessness over the disease, saying tell NBC, “As I watch the guys gear up now, I’m scared for them, because there’s nothing I can do. I can’t say ‘Put the ladder here, put the hose here.'”
“I mean, they are walking into this environment that is invisible. So as bosses, as the captain here, it’s a horrible feeling. It’s the unknown that’s scary.”
High-ranking New York firefighter lost
Near the beginning of this month, New York’s fire department also experienced a loss when FDNY Deputy Chief Inspector Syed Rahman died of COVID-19.
The New York Post reported that the 59-year-old Rahman was one of those in 2001 who helped to clean up at ground zero after the 9/11 attacks.