Seventeen Asheville firefighters have tested positive for COVID-19. Nine of them attended a multi-week training session at the Buncombe County Training Center in Woodfin in late October and early November. The classes are important for firefighters to maintain certification to drive the fire trucks and operate water hoses. But the risk going into any building and classroom amid the pandemic is clear. Eight of the 17 positive firefighters didn’t attend the training, and experts have emphasized COVID-19 is spreading through the community.
“We have the firefighters socially distance and wear masks while we do the training,” Asheville Fire Chief Scott Burnette said. The firefighters went home on a Friday after two weeks of training and then became ill.
“That Monday morning (Nov. 9), we had a number that woke up with symptoms," Burnette said.
After that, the rest of the training was canceled.