Pa. fire chief, 3 former auxiliary members die of COVID-19 complications

New Florence Volunteer Fire Company President Brandon Teeter said members suffered a "devastating loss" after the four deaths


Megan Tomasic
The Tribune-Review, Greensburg

GREENSBURG, Pa. — Members of the New Florence Volunteer Fire Company suffered a "devastating loss" after the fire chief and three former auxiliary members died last month from covid-related difficulties, President Brandon Teeter confirmed.

Chief Keith Boring, 56, a life member of the company who served 24 years as chief, died Oct. 19. Amy Sapp, 39, whose husband is a volunteer firefighter at the station, died Oct. 24. Her sister, Bonnie McAdams, 47, died Oct. 27. Their 66-year-old mother Connie Payne died Oct. 29.

"It's just a sudden loss and, unfortunately, we not only lost one but we lost four," Teeter said.

According to his obituary, Boring was an auto mechanic who owned K&M Auto in New Florence. He previously served as an EMT for West End and Laurel Valley ambulance services and was the president of the New Florence VFW. He was also a member of the St. Clair Tremont Club and The Russian Club, and enjoyed camping and riding his motorcycle.

He is survived by his wife Melissa and children, Keith Jr., Andru and Ryan.

"Today a dark shadow falls over the fire company as our longtime Fire Chief Keith W. Boring lost the battle with covid-19," a New Florence Facebook post reads. "We are in a state of disbelief and shock. As much as this has rocked us, please keep Keith's family in your thoughts and prayers as they grieve their incredible loss of husband, father and grandfather."

Firefighters held candlelit vigil outside the station after Boring's death.

New Florence officials do not keep track of active members' vaccination status, Teeter said.

Sapp was a member of the auxiliary, which is now disbanded, for 15 years. She also worked as a substitute custodian at United High School, according to her obituary.

In addition to her husband of 13 years, Bernie, she is survived by three daughters, ages 9, 11 and 12.

Shortly after Sapp's death, Teeter started a GoFundMe page to raise money for her family going into the holiday season. So far, $4,615 was raised out of a $10,000 goal.

"The GoFundMe was to help with any costs they would have with it being the holidays and raising three kids," Teeter said. "I was concerned if Bernie would need help at least he would have it. Losing an income sucks, especially when you're trying to raise three young kids."

McAdams and Payne served on the fire company's Auxiliary for about 14 years. McAdams also worked as a home caregiver.

Teeter said the covid cases were isolated among the families, and there are no cases among the company's 30 active members. The station is answering calls as normal.

"People need to be careful and be sure if they are sick they need to stay home," Teeter said.

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(c)2021 The Tribune-Review (Greensburg, Pa.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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