ADAMS COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – At least 10 firefighters from the South Adams County Fire Department were not working Monday due to COVID-19 quarantines after department firefighters attended a colleague’s recent wedding in Mexico and were exposed to the virus.
“Some of that is from a COVID exposure,” acknowledged Fire Chief Kevin Vincel, in an interview with CBS4. “This wasn’t the smartest thing to do, but we don’t dictate their ‘off’ time.”READ MORE: Pediatrician Drawing Support For Push To Get Students Back In The Classroom
A firefighter and his fiance had a beachfront wedding, according to social media photos, which included an unspecified number of fellow firefighters.
As a result, Vincel said 10 firefighters were off from work Monday to comply with COVID protocols and precautions. He said the department has to pay overtime to “backfill” their shifts and keep stations fully staffed.READ MORE: COVID In Colorado: Gov. Jared Polis Envisions A 'Very Close To Normal' Summer
“It does cost money, no doubt,” said the chief. He said he did not have a precise figure on how much it was costing.
Photos posted to social media showed the wedding party on the beach maskless and not maintaining social distancing. Vincel said the fire department has strict regulations about wearing masks and social distancing at fire stations, but when employees are on their free time, it’s a different story.
“I don’t condone it,” said Vincel. “But sometimes I understand how people get out and travel and are tired of this.”MORE NEWS: Aurora City Council Questions Panelists About Elijah McClain Independent Review
CBS4 attempted to reach the firefighter and his wife, but they did not respond to messages sent via social media.