SHARON – Sharon Fire Department is still operational despite having a firefighter test positive for COVID-19.
"It's been a roller coaster ride with different staffing and operations during COVID," said Bob Fiscus, the city's manager and fire chief told city council at their Wednesday meeting. "Everything is operational now but I'm a little uneasy about that. At the moment, there's more of a footprint of COVID."
Fiscus said he asked a firefighter to get tested for COVID-19 when he alerted Fiscus that one of his family members tested positive. Although asymptomatic, the firefighter tested positive.
Fiscus had said that one firefighter could potentially expose 75 percent – or three out of four turns – of his department to COVID, but that did not happen.
Several firefighters are in quarantine. Fiscus said the firefighter potentially exposed two full-time and three part-time firefighters.
"We've adopted a strategy that we would back fill and every shift has been filled," Fiscus said.
Sharon shares part-time firefighters with the city of Farrell and the two departments often respond to fires in the other's municipality.
Farrell police Chief Mike Renner said no one in his department has been affected.
"No one who works for me was around him, so we didn't have any issues at all," Renner said.
Renner has first-hand knowledge of the challenge Fiscus is now facing. In July, five Farrell firefighters, including Renner, had to be quarantined after a part-time Farrell firefighter — who also worked in Sharon — tested positive for COVID-19.
At the time, Sharon and Farrell worked together to cover any firefighting gaps. They are going to be doing that again, Renner said.
He said the lines of communication between himself and Fiscus are open.
"We have a plan in place if we have to," Renner said. "Luckily we didn't get there so everything is good."
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