PHOENIX — A growing sense of urgency not just in Arizona hospitals, but for the country’s fifth largest fire department as nearly 50% of service calls at Phoenix's busiest fire station in the past 24 hours are suspected COVID-19 or COVID-19 positive cases.
ABC15 reached out to the City of Phoenix for the latest numbers of COVID-19 cases impacting first responders and found that 77 in Phoenix Fire Department have tested positive, nearly all of them firefighters.
In the Phoenix Police Department, 140 people have tested positive.
Station 25 sits in the state’s hot spot for COVID-19 cases by zip code. In that station alone, nine members have tested positive.
“The problem is when you look at first responders, we live in the house together for 24 hours, we work on the trucks together, we're wearing the masks in the stations, we're doing everything we can, but it's almost impossible to live in a bubble and not deliver these calls,” said Phoenix Fire Department Capt. Rob McDade.
Along with firefighters testing positive, those who have come in contact with that firefighter must quarantine.
“Right now our service delivery model is supporting the loss of the folks we have," McDade said. "So we’ve built everything out to a doomsday scenario of staffing, we're doing critical staffing, folks are working extra shifts, it’s all hands on deck right now for the Phoenix Fire Department."