UPDATE: 5:30 pm .. Tests have come back negative. Quarantine lifted. Chief wants to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers.
COVID-19 Symptoms in Red Oak Firefighter Leads To Quarantine
RED OAK – The Red Oak Fire Department quarantined nine firefighters Wednesday.
One of the nine firefighters reported symptoms matching Covid-19 indicators when he reported to work. In an abundance of caution, the department had the firefighter take the Covid19 test, which has not returned results yet.
Red Oak Fire Chief Ben Blanton said he had traveled out of the United States within the past 15 days. Chief Blanton said he could not say where the fire fighter had traveled.
Chief Blanton said his department was taking “extra precautions to keep everyone safe as well as his department employee’s families.”
In addition to the fire fighter who was showing signs of illness, the other eight firefighters who worked the same shift as the sick firefighter also took the Covid19 test.
Blanton said they are currently being quarantined at a facility in Red Oak. All nine are awaiting test results to indicate if they test positive for the Covid19 virus.
Tests can take three to five days to be returned with the results, Blanton said.
Chief Blanton said the department has taken care to clean any department apparatuses that might have come in contact with the nine firefighters who were tested.
Now, the additional personnel in the department are working overtime to cover the shifts of the nine who have been quarantined.
Blanton said none of the additional firefighters have shown any symptoms of the illness.
“These are the first line of defense though in regard to emergency operations,” Blanton said. “We are limiting our exposure as much as possible, and we have enough food in our facilities to make sure we have taken all measures necessary.”
The Red Oak Fire Department currently has 27 firefighters in the department and three administrative personnel.