Anaheim Fire & Rescue captains, firefighters battle coronavirus


Two Anaheim Fire & Rescue captains continue to battle the novel coronavirus, with one fighting for his life on a ventilator at a local hospital.

One fire captain remains in a local hospital intensive care unit (ICU) on a ventilator, and the other remains in stable condition.

“He’s making small progress, little steps every day,” said Rob Lester, president of the Anaheim Fire Association. “The doctor is saying that’s positive news. Every day, all we hope for is a little progress in getting better.”

A total of 21 people at Anaheim Fire & Rescue were tested after it was suspected they had been exposed to someone who had the virus, Lester said.

Seven tested positive.

“We really want the public to know this disease is still out there, it can still infect us,” Lester said. “Don’t let your guard down. Be very careful and be very diligent in your health.”

Two firefighters are continuing to recover at home, and the rest have since recovered and returned to work.

“One of the greatest strengths of this organization is how we really to help our members in need,” Anaheim Fire & Rescue Chief Pat Russell wrote in a statement. “…As with all challenging situations that we are all forced to endure, we will continue to lift each other up, support each other, and take care of one another.”

The Anaheim Fire Association has arranged for meals for the families of those affected, as well as other support. The city and Anaheim Fire & Rescue have also provided support, Lester said.

“We’re making sure we’re getting them meals every day,” Lester said of the firefighters’ families.   

He asked the community to continue keeping them in their thoughts and prayers.

“Keep the well-wishes and thoughts and prayers coming, because both (of them) really need it,” Lester said. “Looking on social media and seeing the support from the public is tremendous and uplifting. It’s helping us get through this moment.”