Over 300 firefighters quarantined; HFD chief asks people to skip fireworks due to staffing strain

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HOUSTON – The coronavirus is adding strain to the Houston Fire Department, according to a news release.

More than 300 Houston firefighters are in quarantine because of potential exposure to COVID-19, according to the release.

“The number of firefighters unavailable to report for duty further reduces the availability of personnel and creates an extreme strain on the department,” the release said.

Mayor Sylvester Turner has authorized increased overtime compensation for those still working to mitigate the shortfall.

Houston Fire Chief Sam Peña said that the safety and wellbeing of Houstonians and firefighters is the priority, and while the department will work hard to keep people safe, he is asking people to nix the fireworks for the Fourth of July weekend.

“We will respond when called, but I also encourage citizens to help us by following health and safety protocols during the current public health crisis,” Peña said. “Please wear a mask, physical distance and wash your hands. Do not use fireworks during the July 4th holiday weekend because they can cause fires and create an additional strain on our resources.”

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