Trending Topics

Mo. fire chief dies from COVID-19

Festus Fire Chief Kevin Cremer was a 29-year veteran of the fire service


Photo/Florissant Valley Fire Protection District

Mitchell Willetts
The Charlotte Observer

FESTUS, Mo. — Two weeks before her husband’s death, Tonya Cremer stood outside Mercy Hospital Jefferson in the cold, pleading with the crowd of supporters keeping vigil to continue praying for him, to not give up.

Kevin Cremer “has been by my side now for over 30 years,” she said. Now he was hospitalized with COVID-19, and if he didn’t get better soon, the town of Festus, Missouri, would be without its fire chief – and Tonya Cremer would lose so much more.

“He’s not only my husband, but he’s my best friend, a hero, and for sure my better half,” Tonya Cremer said through tears at a Jan. 9 prayer vigil. “I can’t function without this man in my life. I need him, my kids need him, and my grandkids need him here.”

The Festus Fire Department’s chaplain, Kyle Castens, led those gathered in prayer.

“How long, oh Lord?” he asked, wondering when prayers would be answered and Cremer would be well again.

“You gave sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, you raised the dead,” the chaplain said. “Nothing is beyond you … not even COVID.”

Cremer fought on, but on the morning of Monday, Jan. 24, he died from complications caused by the virus, the Festus Fire Department announced.

A firefighter for 29 years, he joined the Festus Fire Department in 2005, the release said. He had two children and two grandchildren.

“It is with deep sadness that we report the passing of Festus Fire Chief Kevin Cremer,” the city of Festus said in a Facebook post. “A wonderful husband, father, and friend he will be deeply missed by all who knew him, especially his City of Festus Family and his brothers and sisters within the Fire service.”


©2022 The Charlotte Observer

Lubbock Firefighter Matt Dawson was seriously injured in a crash that claimed a fellow firefighter and police officer
Fire Chief Ralph Stegbauer and Firefighter Jeffery Skaggs were killed when the mechanical lift they were in fell over
Forest Bend Fire Chief John Norris was with other firefighters fighting a blaze in Friendswood
Kinnelon Lieutenant Justin Bower was found unresponsive at home after a call