60% of East Greenwich firefighters test positive for COVID-19

EAST GREENWICH, RI (WLNE) – Firefighters in East Greenwich are dealing with a Coronavirus outbreak that has prompted the temporary shut down of one of their two firehouses.

60 percent of the fire department (21 out of 34 firefighters) have now tested positive for COVID-19, according to the department’s union IAFF Local 3328.

The East Greenwich Fire Chief, Bernie Patenaude, says they were able to move staff around at fire station 2 on Frenchtown Road it is no longer shut down for the time being.

They are now working to figure out where to go from here, how to staff the two fire stations, and if they need to bring in help from nearby towns.

Most of the firefighters are experiencing mild symptoms and a couple are experiencing rather moderate symptoms, according to the union.

“Mutual aid from our neighboring communities is in place as a temporary & immediate response plan as we work through these unprecedented times while our members recover & remain in quarantine,” the union tweeted Wednesday.

It’s not clear which neighboring communities are assisting, but the union for the Warwick Fire Department tweeted in response saying, “We are here to help our brothers and sisters.” The union for North Kingstown also responded saying, “speedy recovery for all of the brothers!!! Stay Safe! We’re all in this together.”

On Monday, the union said that three of their firefighters had tested positive for COVID-19 and that they were expecting more positive cases to come.

Categories: Coronavirus, News, Rhode Island