Firefighter-Paramedic Jose J. Perez

LOS ANGELES (CNS) — A Los Angeles firefighter has died from complications of COVID-19, the first in the department to die from the disease.

Firefighter-Paramedic Jose J. Perez was 44 and had been with the Los Angeles Fire Department for more than 16 years, officials said.

Perez is survived by his wife and three children.

“Fire Chief Ralph Terrazas and the entire Department send their deepest and most sincere condolences to the Perez family,” according to a department statement.

Department spokesman Peter Sanders said LAFD officials are satisfied that enough safety measures for working firefighters are in place. “They’ve been extremely robust since the pandemic began, following guidance from both the county department of public health and the CDC, and we’re continuing to follow all recommended procedures from both agencies.” 

From March through July 24, 145 LAFD employees have tested positive for COVID-19, with 108 recovered and back at work and 36 recovering at home, officials said.