President of firefighters’ union calling for more protective gear as 5 test positive for COVID-19

BOSTON (WHDH) - Firefighters in several communities have tested positive for coronavirus, including two in Boston and that fact is spreading concern statewide.

At least five firefighters in the Bay State have been diagnosed with coronavirus, according to President of the Professional Firefighters of Massachusetts Richard MacKinnon Jr.

Two of the five are Boston firefighters and 17 more are self-quarantining at home.

In a statement to 7NEWS, the Interim Commissioner Jack Dempsy said:

“Protecting the health and safety of our members at the Boston Fire Department is a top priority. We have reviewed our policies to make the changes necessary to ensure we are following the necessary guidance from public health officials, such as maintaining adequate supplies and actively practicing social distancing in our firehouses to minimize any potential exposure.”

In Brookline, station five is now back open after temporarily closing for a thorough disinfecting when a firefighter in their town tested positive.

Two others at the same station are still waiting on their test results after developing symptoms consistent with the coronavirus.

Officials in Billerica said Tuesday night that a first responder in their town has also tested positive.

Town leaders said first responders are screened on each shift and must take precautions to wear personal protective gear.

Despite this, McKinnon says firefighters are at risk of being exposed to the deadly virus and is asking for more PPE to be made available to them.

According to him, the pandemic has dramatically threatened their ability to help the state at its time of greatest need.

If the firefighters are exposed without the proper protection and treatment, they will hamper the state’s ability to respond to the pandemic, McKinnon said.

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