CHANDLER (3TV/CBS 5) -- In this pandemic, the risk for frontline workers has only amplified. They can't stay home or keep their distance from others when they've been called upon to help. It's a scary reality for a Chandler firefighter who tested positive for COVID-19 last week.

Chandler firefighter Eric Jones left work on Monday night feeling exhausted. "On Tuesday morning, I woke up, and it was just like a freight train hit me getting out of bed, and I actually passed out. I lost consciousness and ended up on the ground. It was that intense," said Jones.

The 15-year veteran of the Chandler Fire Department tested positive for COVID-19 last week. He doesn't know where he contracted it but believes he got it from work. Jones said his station has been responding to COVID-19 calls non-stop from long term care facilities. "That's pretty much all we've ran for months were COVID calls back to back to back," said Jones. "I believe it was just a matter of time before somebody showed positive with it."

Jones admits he didn't take coronavirus seriously before he caught it.

"I always doubted the severity of the coronavirus, always made fun of it. I guess not made fun of it but lightened the severity. I thought it was like the flu, but it's not, man. It's real," said Jones.

The 40-year-old's fever has gone away, but there are still complications he's dealing with. He's having an issue with his lungs and chest pains. He wants to play it safe and go to the hospital.

"I'd rather err on the side of caution and be seen by people I know and trust," said Jones. "There's only so much I can do here in my house by myself."

The Chandler Fire Department told Arizona's Family that several firefighters were sent home as a precaution. The fire department's spokesperson told Arizona's Family that they are not showing symptoms. 

The Chandler Fire Department sent us this statement:

We never know what any emergency call may bring or what the potential exposures may be.  With the raised concerns with Covid-19 we implemented some increased measures while on duty.  We require an increased frequency of cleaning common areas and have contracted with a business to perform scheduled cleaning.  We require every firefighter to check their temperature on arrival to work and advised them to remain home if they have any symptoms.   We have suspended all public visits to the fire station to minimize risk of potential exposure. If a member becomes symptomatic after an encounter with a positive COVID patient, they are placed on leave and sent home.  If they test positive, they must remain home for seven days or 72 hours post symptoms, whichever is the longer time period. Our Fire Chief has been very proactive with making sure our members and community can stay as healthy as possible.

 

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