The first Missoula City Firefighter has tested positive for COVID 19, according to the Fire Department and the Missoula City County Health Department.

Fire Chief Jeff Brandt said officials within the department immediately took appropriate steps to ensure the safety of firefighters and the public.

“We did experience a positive test within our fire department,” said Chief Brandt. “We do not know where that firefighter contracted the COVID, so we are taking precautions and certainly leaning heavily on the health department for guidance and then our roles and responsibilities for what we need to do.”

As soon as they learned of the positive test result on Monday, they identified potential contacts, who are quarantined at home pending interviews and COVID-19 tests. Those contacts include law enforcement officers and ambulance personnel who worked closely with the firefighter.

Brandt said there are plenty of firefighters in the department to fill in for the individual, and any others that may have to be placed in quarantine.

“We’re very fortunate that we have a large department with 96 members,” he said. “We’re able to cover those shifts. Some folks have said they would cancel their vacations; some said they were going to take the afternoon to go to a dentist appointment, but they have all cancelled their plans and come in to maintain our staffing levels appropriately so that we can provide that service to our community.”

Brandt said he has been overwhelmed with the community support for his fire department.

“We just really appreciate the support,” he said. “It’s been unbelievable as this has swept through our community and touches everyone in our lives. We really appreciate your support and we’re trying to do our best to support you and to serve the public. Thank you very much.”