Detroit firefighters union president, vice president fighting COVID-19

Nearly 100 DFD first responders with coronavirus

DETROIT – Top officials at the Detroit Fire Fighters Association and about 100 Detroit firefights and medics are fighting coronavirus.

Tom Gehart, the president of Detroit’s firefighter union, is a father to three young children and is only 40. He had to be rushed to the hospital Wednesday with a 105-degree fever and coronavirus hurting his ability to breath.

Nearly 100 Detroit firefighters and medics have tested positive for the virus and some are hospitalized. The department saw its first COVID-19-related death of a firefighter when Franklin Williams Jr. died April 8.

RELATED: Detroit Fire captain who spent 31 years with department dies from coronavirus (COVID-19) complications

The union said fire and medic crews face the virus nonstop in the city. Some first responders have said they’re afraid of bringing the virus home to their families.

Union vice president Bill Harp is also fighting coronavirus.

“It is a new thing for all of our members," Harp said. "Now, are they going to be killed in the line of service and taking this home to their families? It’s a whole new level of challenge for the DFD in service. Helping another, you may be causing the death of a family member.”

The union leaders said they will continue to work the phones to secure protective gear for crews as the president and vice president are recovering. Donations for emergency supplies for Detroit police and fire crews can be made here.

Anyone who believes they might have coronavirus should follow the CDC guidelines. Michigan.gov has a list of resources available to those concerned about COVID-19.

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