Wis. firefighter, 33, dies of COVID-19

Matt Siddons "was a darn good friend to everyone, and he had a big heart," said Cadott Area Fire & Rescue Chief Rick Sommerfeld


Chris Vetter
The Leader-Telegram

CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. — A Cadott volunteer firefighter has died from COVID-19. Matt Siddons was only 33 when he died Wednesday.

Siddons had been hospitalized more than 60 days, and in mid-December, was transferred to a hospital in Minnesota, where he had hoped to get a lung transplant.

Matt Siddons served with the Cadott Area Fire & Rescue for eight years.
Matt Siddons served with the Cadott Area Fire & Rescue for eight years. (Photo/Cadott Area Fire & Rescue)

Cadott Area Fire & Rescue Chief Rick Sommerfeld said Siddons had been a volunteer with his department for eight years.

"He was a blessing to the community. He was very involved," Sommerfeld said. "He was active in the department. He was a darn good friend to everyone, and he had a big heart. I'm at a loss right now."

Sommerfeld said Siddons could be counted on to help in any situation.

"He was on my speed dial when I needed to move something big," Sommerfeld said.

Dave Balko, who has been in the fire department for six years, said he went to high school with Siddons, and they were neighbors.

"He was always there for you," Balko said. "You would always see him around town. It will be strange to not see him at fire department meetings."

Siddons and his wife, Kayla, were active in the Cadott Community Association, similar to a chamber of commerce, Balko said. Kayla Siddons previously worked in the Chippewa County Clerk of Courts office and was known throughout the courthouse.

Chippewa County Coroner Ron Patten said Siddons is among the youngest deaths from the virus in Chippewa County. Patten is Kayla Siddons's uncle, and he said Matt was well-known in the Cadott community.

"It's pretty sad," Patten said. "He had been fighting complications of COVID for a couple of months."

Citing HIPAA privacy rules, Chippewa County Public Health Director Angela Weideman wouldn't confirm if Siddons was the youngest Chippewa County resident to die from the virus. Weideman also said she couldn't divulge if Siddons had been vaccinated.

Matt Siddons was hospitalized in late October.

"My perfectly healthy, never quits going, never gets sick 33-year-old husband is in a very vulnerable state that I just don't have answers to," Kayla Siddons posted on her Facebook account in early November. "He is intubated, sedated and on a ventilator."

Kayla Siddons posted Dec. 3 that doctors said Matt was now conscious, but he would likely need lung transplant surgery.

"We were always told to expect some scarring. However we've learned his lungs are badly damaged and has a lot of scarring which is preventing him from being on less oxygen," she wrote. "He has also developed cysts throughout the entire lung which they've never seen before."

Balko said each time he read an update on Siddons' condition, he could see it was getting worse. However, Matt remained upbeat in his Facebook posts.

"He didn't quit fighting," Balko said.

The state's Department of Heath Services announced 30 more virus-related deaths on Thursday including six from western Wisconsin: two from Chippewa County and one each from Barron, Dunn, Eau Claire and St. Croix counties.

The United State's seven-day average of hospitalizations is 76,776, up 11% in the past week, according to Johns Hopkins University.

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(c)2022 the Leader-Telegram 

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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