Fire Department COVID cases raising concerns and complaints

CSRA News

Augusta,Ga (WJBF) Like other segments of our society Covid is now finding its way into the Augusta Fire Department raising concerns, and complaints.

Firefighters work to make sure the blazes they get called to are put out and don’t spread, now city leaders have concerns about covid spreading in the fire department.

“It’s imperative that we have a full staff of firefighters, lives depend on it and now with covid coming around and its touched our fire department we’re already understaffed,” said Commissioner John Clarke.

More than seventy five members of the department has been tested for covid, about a quarter of the employees.

Five remain positive, the Chief saying masks, social distancing and testing are all taking place.

“We have worked with Augusta University so that we can get our tests done because we are part of the heath care system the first responders are part of the health care system so we really follow the guidelines of the CDC,” said Chief Chris James.

But one veteran fire fighter disagrees, filing an official grievance saying after a crew member tested positive, one co-worker who complained of symptoms was allowed to leave work, but he wasn’t , was and was told he would be considered AWOL.

The conversation between he and his shift commander was recorded.

Fire officials say the firefighter tested negative for Covid, and the incident is under investigation.

“From what I am hearing different people get treated differently and that’s a big concern they have,” said Commissioner John Clarke.

With staffing already an issue with the Augusta Fire Department a Covid outbreak could have a big impact, some of the remedies including cancelling vacations or even closing fire stations.

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