COLUMBUS, Ohio — For the past year and a half, firefighters have worked to take care of COVID-19 patients. Now, one of Columbus' own has died from the virus.
Frank Duff, Jr. served as a Columbus firefighter for more than 20 years. He contracted COVID while on the job and passed away over the weekend.
Those who knew him, remember him as a quiet guy who would help anyone.
“So kind to everyone, just pleasant to work with. Every single day, he was the same guy, from his first day on until 26 years later,” said Columbus Fire Chief Jeffrey Happ.
Happ knew Duff well.
“Very, very kind soul,” Happ said.
They worked together at Station 10 when Happ was a lieutenant.
“He was always very quiet, very reserved, patient, kind. He was a perfect firefighter. He didn't get into playing jokes or anything like that. He was a little more reserved,” Happ said.
Duff was hired on September 11, 1994, and earned his Paramedic Certificate in 1998. He spent the majority of his career working on the city’s west side, and was last assigned to Rescue 17, running out of the Hilltop neighborhood station on West Broad Street.
Happ says duff was well-known and well-liked and loved to help coworkers if they had car problems.
“Before this job he was a mechanic. He was very mechanically inclined. Anytime any of the firefighters or neighbors in the street would have issues, Frank would stop them in the street for them and do it,” Happ said.
In August, Duff contracted covid while at work. He passed away on Sunday.
His fellow firefighters honored him as his body was transported to the funeral home.
“It saddens us when you lose one of your own that you care about. It hits you, it hits you right in the heart,” Happ said with tears in his eyes.
The department has chaplains helping his brothers and sisters through the tough time.
The chief is encouraging anyone who hasn't yet, to get a covid vaccine.
“This is a wicked virus. I encourage everyone, if they haven't, to get the vaccine and help stop the spread of this wicked disease,” Happ said.
Funeral plans are still be arraigned.