Department thanks NCH for treating Naples firefighter, continues treatment in Orlando

Reporter: Taylor Smith Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Naples firefighter Tony. Credit: WINK News.

A Naples firefighter is the one being responded to, as he receives treatment for the coronavirus.

Firefighter Tony Christensen with Naples Fire-Rescue is being treated for COVID-19 in Orlando after receiving initial treatment at NCH.

Monday morning, Naples firefighters went to express their thanks to NCH for taking care of one of their own.

“We wanted to go over and tell them just how grateful we are for taking such good care of him,” Chief Pete DiMaria said. “He has battled hard, and they were there with him the whole way.”

DiMaria says Christensen has been working for the department for more than 30 years. They couldn’t visit him in the hospital, but the doctors and nurses at NCH have been on the front lines with him every day until Sunday night when he was transferred to Orlando.

“One small breach in PPE, one tiny error, and it can affect a lot of people,” DiMaria said.

Firefighters who put themselves on the front lines for us every day are not immune to coronavirus either.

“We’ve had seven firefighters all test positive at the same time all because of one tiny breach,” DiMaria said.

Christensen is still trying to overcome COVID-19 after he contracted the virus on the job

“He ended up on a ventilator, and NCH finally had to transfer him to another hospital in Orlando for some specialized care,” DiMaria said.

Christensen has been at the hospital for 10 days.

“He’s missed very much already. We feel like there is someone not there that’s always cracking a joke and making you smile,” DiMaria said.

The City of Naples feels incomplete without him.

“He’s been one of those steadfast guys,” DiMaria said. “No matter how young the new employees come in, he puts them under his wing, and he teaches them the ropes and takes good care of his co-workers.”

The chief says they are getting updates on Christensen every day. His wife will be heading to Orlando soon, even though she can’t see him because of the restrictions.

Until he gets better, the fire department and the city will be “Tony Strong.”

“He’s one of the toughest guys I know,” DiMaria said. “So if anyone can beat this, it would be Tony.”

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