EAST GREENWICH, R.I. (WPRI) — One of two firehouses in East Greenwich has been forced to temporarily close after a cluster of positive coronavirus cases.
The East Greenwich Firefighters Association (IAFF Local 3328) posted on Twitter Wednesday morning that 21 of their 34 firefighters have tested positive for the virus, which is about 60% of their crew.
“Most are experiencing mild symptoms and a couple are experiencing rather moderate symptoms,” the Twitter post read.
Mutual aid from neighboring communities is in place as a temporary and immediate response plan while the 21 firefighters recover and are in quarantine.
“Both stations will be open with Station 2 serving East Greenwich and also serving part of North Kingstown,” East Greenwich Town Manager Andrew Nota said.
Keeping emergency services running during the holiday season is imperative, according to Susan McKelvey, of the National Fire Protection Association.
“The risk of home fires increases this time of year,” McKelvey said. “Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires in the U.S.”
The mutual aid agreement between East Greenwich and North Kingstown fire departments are expected to continue for weeks to come.
“At the appropriate time we’ll do retesting and hopefully get some of these individuals back during a two-week period,” Nota said. “We’re expecting to have this modified plan in place for a minimum of a couple of weeks.”
Officials say that emergency services will not be interrupted.