JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville Fire and Rescue’s Urban Search and Rescue personnel sent to Surfside came home Friday night, but some came home before their fellow members because they contracted coronavirus.
“We took all the precautions, sent them home immediately, separated them from the crews, did what we needed to do for everybody else that was there,” JFRD Captain Eric Prosswimmer said.
News4JAX reporter Zac Lashway received a tip on Friday that some members of JFRD tested positive for COVID-19 while in Surfside.
Eighty JFRD personnel received a warm welcome home after helping crews with search and rescue efforts at the condo collapse.
“Our crews were down there working 12-hour shifts, so they were on for 12 hours, off for 12 hours, they were on the pile for 12 hours at a time, doing very heavy, very serious work,” JFRD Captain Eric Prosswimmer said.
We then learned seven had tested positive for coronavirus.
“They came off the pile, they were tired, some of them came off with the fatigue and everything, out of an abundance of caution we tested them all to make sure we were in a good place, that’s when we found a few cases.”
Prosswimmer said these diagnoses did not impact the length of JFRD’s trip.
“Their mission was for up to seven days, they released multiple task forces yesterday to get back around to Florida to their own cities because of this storm coming. The other thing is they were very proactive, and they brought six federal teams down to replace what was already down there, so we could take care of our state, with that storm coming toward us, we need to protect our state.”
News4JAX has reached out to other agencies involved in this effort to see if any other personnel contracted COVID-19.