JACKSON COUNTY, MO (KCTV) -- It’s been a tough day for those working at Fire Station 18 on Indiana Avenue in Kansas City, as now they’re mourning the loss of one of their own.
"One of a kind. KCFD’s finest," says Sean Vigilante, a friend of KC Fire Captain Robert Rocha.
Those are the words that come to mind for many when describing Rocha.
“He was an outstanding man. The city has a great loss,” says friend Tommy Parker.
This morning, 60-year-old Captain Rocha lost his battle with the coronavirus. He was a 29-year veteran of KCFD.
“You’re not going to get a better fire captain than that,” says Parker.
He is the second firefighter within the KCFD to lose their battle with COVID-19. Back in April, the department lost EMT Billy Birmingham.
According to the International Association of Firefighters, nationwide more than 30,000 firefighters have had known exposures to COVID-19 in the course of duty.
After contracting it, nearly 150 have been hospitalized and at least 19 have died.
That’s one of the main reasons why the association recently sent a letter to all governors around the country, asking that firefighters and emergency medical services personnel be placed in the top tier grouping for receiving the COVID vaccine upon its release.
It's in hopes that the vaccine will lower the chances even more of them have to say another early goodbye to one of their own.