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Florida Fire Chief Dies From COVID-19 As Virus Ravages State

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Fire Chief Randy Burnham

A Florida fire chief has died from COVID-19, local news outlet News4Jax reported Tuesday citing an announcement from the Lake City ire department.

“It is with my deepest sympathy and probably the hardest thing that I have ever posted. Today Chief Randy Burnham lost his fight with COVID. We are saddened but thankful for all of your prayers. Please continue to lift the family and our department in your prayers. #LCFD,” the department wrote on Facebook on Tuesday morning

Officials in Lake City said they do not know whether Burnham had been vaccinated. A fire department lieutenant in Lake City, 60 miles west of Jacksonville, is also currently hospitalized with COVID-19 and on a ventilator, according to Channel 4 news.

“We are thankful for the outpouring support of our department during this time,” the department wrote. “We want to not forget that we have one of our brothers still fighting and needs your continued prayers. This is a trying time but know that #Godsnotdone.”

Austin Thomas, a driver-engineer with the department, told Channel 4 that “August was a rough month for the 21-man fire station with, at one time, 75% of its employees either positive with the virus or in quarantine.”

“The department had PPE and other procedures in place to protect employees, but Thomas said the virus still hit home hard,” the station reported.

The Associated Press reported this weekend that police, firefighters and other first responders “are among those most hesitant to get the vaccine and their cases continue to grow.”