EAST GREENWICH, RI — Nearly 24 percent of the East Greenwich Fire Department is in quarantine after one firefighter tested positive for the coronavirus and seven others who were working with that firefighter were taken out of action as a precaution.
The East Greenwich Firefighters Association said the remainder of the staff will be on extra duty to make up for the lost crew of firefighters.
"It's not an ideal situation but your EG Firefighters stand ready to assist our community," Local 3328 posted on its official Twitter account. "Lastly, we wish our members and each of their families all the best during these unnerving times."
The union said three unfilled positions within the department will further thin the staff for the next two weeks.
8 of our 34 East Greenwich Firefighters placed on quarantine and one tests positive for COVID-19. Our remaining limited staff will remain on duty 24/7 filling not only these 8 vacancies but also the 3 other vacancies that have not been filled over the last several months.<1 of 2>
— IAFF Local 3328 (@IAFFLocal3328) May 23, 2020
Fire Chief Bernard Patenaude told WPRI-TV on Saturday that all of the department’s 34 firefighters were tested for the virus on Tuesday and that two of the tests had come back as of Saturday — one negative, and the one positive that triggered the quarantine.
Patenaude told the station that the firefighter that tested positive was not experiencing any symptoms.