LODD: W.Va. fire lieutenant dies due to COVID-19
Weirton Fire Department Lt. Brian Ritchie, 50, was also the assistant chief of the Hooverson Heights Volunteer Fire Department
Duty Death: Brian Ritchie - [Weirton]
End of Service: 02/02/2021
By Laura French
WEIRTON, W.Va. — A West Virginia fire lieutenant, who was also a volunteer assistant fire chief, died after contracting COVID-19 at work, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.
Weirton Fire Department Lt. Brian Ritchie, 50, contracted the virus in mid-December and died from the disease on Feb. 2, the USFA announced. Ritchie was also the assistant chief of the Hooverson Heights Volunteer Fire Department.
Ritchie had served with the Weirton Fire Department for 13 years and with the Hooverson Heights Volunteer Fire Department for nearly three decades, according to Weirton Firefighters IAFF Local 948.
According to an online fundraiser set up by Weirton firefighters during Ritchie’s illness, he was the only surviving parent of his 17-year-old son Caleb. He is also survived by his long-time girlfriend Sierra Dunlevy, who became Caleb’s legal guardian while Ritchie was on a ventilator, according to the West Virginia Record.
Caleb Ritchie and Dunlevy had previously been fighting for worker’s compensation benefits for Lt. Brian Ritchie, which were ultimately granted days before his death.
Ritchie’s funeral will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 10. A procession was held this Wednesday to escort Ritchie from the hospital.