The Chicago Fire Department is mourning the loss of a second firefighter who died after testing positive for COVID-19 as the department continues to grapple with the new reality of protecting the public during the coronavirus pandemic.
Edward Singleton, a 55-year-old longtime member of the department, passed away from complications due to an infection, the department said Wednesday.
”It is with a heavy heart that I announce the loss of a second dedicated member of the Chicago Fire Department (CFD) family due to complications from COVID-19," Chicago Fire Commissioner Richard C. Ford II said in a statement.
Singleton, who joined the department in 1987, was most recently stationed at Midway Airport. He was a husband and father of two adult children.
"We don’t need to lose another CFD member to understand the gravity of the circumstances that first responders are currently operating under," Ford's statement read. "In the midst of our mourning the loss of yet another one of our brothers, CFD members must diligently follow guidelines and protocols in order to ensure the safety of themselves, the public they serve, and their families. Firefighter Singleton’s contributions and his spirit will live on forever."
The death is the second for the department, which announced its first loss nearly one week ago.
Mario Araujo, 49, died April 7 due to complications from the virus, CFD spokesman Larry Langford said.
Araujo fell ill at the end of March, officials said. Another firefighter from Truck 25 who worked on the first shift with Araujo also tested positive for coronavirus and was recovering at home under close monitoring, the deputy chief said.
The loss of Araujo came at an already terrifying time when firefighters across the city are navigating their essential work through the outbreak.
“As I watch the guys gear up now, I’m scared for them, because there’s nothing I can do. I can’t say 'Put the ladder here, put the hose here,'" Battalion 9 Chief James O’Donnell said. "I mean, they are walking into this environment that is invisible. So as bosses, as the captain here, it’s a horrible feeling. It’s the unknown that’s scary.”
The Chicago Police Department - who lost two officers so far - tweeted, "To our brothers and sisters in the Chicago Fire Dept: our support of you is unwavering as you grieve."