KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A member of the Kansas City Fire Department has died Monday from the coronavirus, the department said Monday.
KCFD spokesman Jimmy Walker said Billy Birmingham, an emergency medical technician in his late 60s, died from complications related to COVID-19.
“His passing represents a personal loss to all of us who knew him and cherished both his friendship and professionalism,” KCFD Fire Chief Donna Maize said.
He had been with the department since 2010 and before then was with the Municipal Ambulance Services Trust since 1998.
The EMT is the first member of the department to die of the virus. Several others have tested positive, and Walker previously told FOX4 the department assumes they contracted the virus from patients they helped transport to local hospitals.
“This member did not lose his life, he gave his life serving the citizens of Kansas City, Missouri,” the IAFF Local 42 union wrote on Facebook.
“I am heartbroken by the death of a longtime Kansas City Fire Department EMT, who tragically passed away this afternoon due to COVID-related complications … My heart goes out to his family, his friends, and all in KCFD who remember his selfless service to Kansas City,” Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas said in a statement.
“We all must continue to remain vigilant in our efforts to prevent any further spread of this terrible disease and to best support our first responders and health workers who give it all for us.”
On Tuesday the city plans to turn on the Firefighter’s Fountain and Memorial at Pennsylvania and 31st Street in the EMT’s honor.
The department said funeral arrangements and information will be announced in the days to come.