KANSAS CITY, Mo. — News broke on Saturday morning that a Kansas City firefighter died in the line of duty from COVID-19, the second line of duty death the department has suffered from the virus in 2020. Just after 12 p.m., the Kansas City Fire Department provided more details about Captain Robert “Bobby” Rocha, a 60-year-old man who served the department for 29 years.
“I am sad to report that KCFD Fire Captain Robert “Bobby” Rocha lost his battle with COVID-19 early this morning. He was a vibrant and beloved part of the KCFD Family for 29 years,” said KCFD Fire Chief Donna Maize in a release.
“His passing represents a personal loss to all of us who knew him. I cherish both his friendship and professionalism. KCFD first responders continue to put their lives on the line daily in service to our City as this pandemic rages on. My request to all is to follow the guidance to protect yourself and your family from this virus.”
Mayor Quinton Lucas said in a statement that Rocha fought the virus for weeks and expressed gratefulness for his service and heroism. Greater Kansas City Firefighters made this statement on Facebook:
“COVID is affecting our family of city employees, and this loss is a terrible reminder that we all need to help stop the spread,” Acting City Manager Earnest Rouse stated, noting this is the third city employee to die from the virus.
The other loss suffered within KCFD occurred in April when emergency medical technician Billy Birmingham. His death and Rocha’s are considered line of duty deaths because it’s believed they contracted the virus while serving on the front lines.