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Ohio firefighter dies after month-long battle with COVID-19 contracted in line of duty

Columbus Division of Fire: Frank D. Duff Jr. was known for his “calm and kind demeanor”


Duty Death: Frank D. Duff, Jr. - [Columbus]

End of Service: 19/09/2021

Eric Lagatta
The Columbus Dispatch

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A longtime firefighter and paramedic with the Columbus Division of Fire has died after about a month-long struggle with COVID-19, the division announced Monday.

Frank D. Duff Jr. died Sunday after he became symptomatic with COVID-19 in mid-August, which was traced to an exposure he received while in the line of duty, according to the fire division.

Duff was hired with the Columbus Division of Fire in September 1994, earning his paramedic certificate in 1998. He spent the majority of his career working on the city’s West Side and was last assigned to Rescue 17, running out of the Hilltop neighborhood station on West Broad Street.

“Duff was known for his calm and kind demeanor with everyone he came into contact with. He treated everyone he met like family and was the living example of what it means to have a servant’s heart,” according to a statement the division posted on Facebook and provided to the media. “His family and friends are in our prayers.”

Additional information about Duff, including his age and surviving family members, were not immediately available. Battalion Chief Steve Martin, a spokesman for the division, said those details will be included in an obituary when funeral arrangements are finalized.

It is not clear whether Duff was vaccinated against COVID-19. The City of Columbus does not require employees to be vaccinated, nor does it disclose their vaccination status, with the exception of employees at Columbus Public Health, said Glenn McEntyre, spokesman for the city Department of Public Safety.

“The Department of Public Safety has encouraged employees to get vaccinated, and we continue to look for ways to incentivize them to do so,” McEntyre said in an email to The Dispatch.

Steve Stein, president of International Association of Firefighters Local 67 in Columbus, said in May that the majority of Columbus’ approximately 1,600 firefighters had received the vaccination.

Though City Council last week approved a Columbus-wide mask mandate for anyone inside a publicly accessible space, emergency workers are among those exempt from complying with the order.

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