Texas FD scrutinizing its internal COVID-19 procedures after captain's death
Fort Worth Capt. Randy Robinson, who died on Thursday, is one of 180 department employees who contracted the virus
Duty Death: Randy Robinson - [Fort Worth, Texas]
End of Service: 12/17/2020
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
FORT WORTH, Texas — The Fort Worth Fire Department is scrutinizing its internal novel coronavirus procedures after a captain who led air crash response operations at Alliance Airport died of COVID-19 on Thursday.
For 90 days after COVID-19 began to spread widely in the United States in March, no fire department employees contracted the virus, Fire Chief Jim Davis said. Since that period, 180 of the department's civil service employees and 17 civilians have tested positive. The department employs about 900 people.
"The virus has caught up to us just like it's caught up to the public," he said.
Davis said that the department was reviewing its procedures to determine whether it should make changes.
To avoid cross-department outbreaks, the department has avoided assigning firefighters to fill in for absent colleagues who do not regularly work at the same station. It intensified its station cleaning measures and reduced visitors.
When department case numbers began to increase in late summer, it began to require firefighters wear face masks in stations.
Capt. Randy Robinson, 64, died on Thursday in a hospital intensive care unit. He had virus symptoms on Nov. 17 and was treated at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital H-E-B beginning on Nov. 30, Davis said.
Robinson was the senior captain at Station 35 in far north Fort Worth and had worked there for 20 years. It is not possible to be certain where a person contracted a virus, but it is assumed that Robinson's case was work-related, a fire department spokesman said.
"We are an organization that has prided [ourselves] on being on the front line of this virus and trying to work with the community to keep the community safe," Davis said. "As the fire chief here in Fort Worth, I take this death very personally."
Robinson, who had also worked at the department's training academy, was hired in March 1981. He is survived by a daughter and son.
"It's a difficult time for our fire department. It's a difficult time for our city," Davis said.
(c)2020 the Fort Worth Star-Telegram