Detroit mourns loss of veteran firefighter to COVID-19

Posted at 11:49 PM, Apr 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-09 05:50:00-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — A veteran Detroit firefighter has died from complications of the coronavirus, according to Detroit Fire Fighters Association President Tom Gehart.

Capt. Franklin Williams, 58, is the first Detroit firefighter to die due from COVID-19. He was with the department for 32 years and leaves behind a wife and seven children.

"We lost one of our good leaders and officers today," Gehart said.

On Wednesday, Gehart said Williams' colleagues were mourning the loss of a brother.

"They're trying to digest this right now," he said.

Williams rushed into harm's way to answer the calls for help despite danger. Gehart said he is confident he came into contact with the new virus while on duty.

"These guys are doing as I said, 500 medical runs a day," Gehart said. "I am going to assume 50% are COVID related at this time."

The department has 53 firefighters who tested positive for the new virus. Gehart said the tight-knit group of firefighters spent Wednesday remembering Williams' service.

"Just a heck of a worker," Gehart said. "He came to work everyday at 6:30 a.m., getting things prepared before his crew."

The association said while protective gear is in place, it's not a guarantee against the virus.

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