CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Thursday, five Corpus Christi firefighters returned to duty after spending two weeks under quarantine.
With the health crisis far from over, first responders may find themselves pulled off duty again. But who takes their place in the front-line of the war on the coronavirus?
“All of the Corpus Christi Fire Department stations are open for business,” said CCFD Chief Robert Rocha. “All of our fire trucks are staffed, all of our ambulances are staffed.”
But for how long? The Corpus Christi Fire Department started its Friday with six firefighters less. A captain and five others were in quarantine after the captain’s wife tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday.
“Out of an abundance of caution, we have isolated that shift at that station away from their families and they are currently at a Fire Department facility,” said Rocha.
All six firefighters were tested. Five were released from quarantine after the captain negative. Because of his close contact with his wife, the captain will stay quarantined. Nevertheless, their absence left one fire station one shift short Friday.
“We’re able to utilize our overtime to fill the positions,” said Rocha.
Chief Rocha says that will be the case anytime firefighters are quarantined, which means full shifts across the city, and crews from a station with quarantined firefighters will respond to calls.
“With all the cleaning we do and the monitoring of the firefighters, actually the fire stations are some of the safest place to be in the city,” said Rocha.
That monitoring includes taking firefighters’ temperatures twice a shift. An abundance of caution to keep responders and the public safe.
"We want to make sure that they’re healthy, they’re safe, and they can do their job,” said Rocha.