ORLANDO, Fla. (WESH) — It’s been a devastating week for many first responders in Central Florida. Three of their own died from COVID-19.
“A loss like this is terrible because we all know him, we know his family,” Port Orange Police Chief Bill Proctor said.
Port Orange Police Department announced the death of 39-year-old Officer Justin White on Thursday.
That same day, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office announced it lost a deputy to COVID-19, 54-year-old Deputy First Class Craig Seijos.
The day before, the Melbourne Fire Department announced long-time firefighter Scott Allender had died as well.
“It really is on our hearts and minds a lot of the loss and sad tragedy that occurred to our brothers and sisters and the agencies that they’re from,” Battalion Chief Scott Egan said.
First responders from across the area have been offering their condolences.
Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood took to social media to offer his regards, pointing out that, right now, COVID-19 is the leading cause of line-of-duty deaths.
Egan said even though first responders have more experience dealing with COVID-19 at this point in the pandemic, it still poses a significant threat.
“It still is just as dangerous as it was in the beginning and it needs to be taken seriously,” Egan said.