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LODD: Calif. firefighter-paramedic dies from COVID-19 contracted on medical call

Matthew Michael “Bear” Rominger died in May after a 5-week illness

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By Jessie Forand

ROCKLIN, Calif. — A firefighter-paramedic with the Mountain Warfare Fire Department died after a five-week battle with COVID-19.

KCRA reported that Matthew Michael “Bear” Rominger died May 16 after contracting the virus on a medical call.

“Bear knew the cost and chose to go forward anyways,” said Fire Chaplain Gus Stuart. “Badges are only as good as the hearts underneath them, and his heart was huge.”

Rominger, 49, had served as an EMS paramedic, firefighter and California Highway Patrol officer during his life and was called “Bear” because of his physical size and larger-than-life personality.

Stuart reminded people that that COVID-19 remains a danger to first responders, saying, “I would want everyone in the community to know, [that] unfortunately, your choices don’t just affect you. We will always answer the call, we will always have someone ready to come to your aid, but you can come to ours too and prevent days like this.”