Lake City Fire Chief loses battle against COVID-19

LAKE CITY, Fla. — The Lake City Fire Department is mourning the loss of one of its own. Chief Randy Burnham died of COVID-19 on Sunday, the department announced on its Facebook page.

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Austin Thomas described Burnham as a dedicated firefighter who served the community for more than 30 years.

“His sense of humor was always very uppity and very entertaining,” Thomas recalled.

Thomas said Burnham was a man who took his job seriously, but also had a way of bringing joy to those around him.

“He loved to laugh and smile and cut up,” Thomas added.

And then Burnham caught COVID-19. Several weeks of ups and downs would ensue but Burnham was a fighter.

“It seemed to be trending uphill and in his favor for a while,” Thomas explained.

He said things took a turn for the worse and just hours later, Burnham’s family told the fire department he didn’t make it.

“It was very shocking and tragic news,” Thomas said.

COVID-19 continues to be a big threat to those on the front lines. Burnham is among several local first responders to have reportedly lost their battle with the virus.

Thomas said Burnham leaves behind a wife and two sons — one of whom followed his father’s footsteps and serves as a firefighter himself.

The fire department is asking the community to honor Burnham by remembering those on the front lines facing COVID-19 every day.

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A viewing for Burnham will be held on Thursday from 4-to-8 p.m. at Lake City’s Fire Station 1. Burnham’s funeral will be Friday at 11 a.m. at Christian Fellowship Church.

Lake City Fire said another teammate is fighting for his life. Lt. Jeff McNeal has a serious case of COVID-19, Thomas said.

The department is asking the community for its continued support and prayers.