FESTUS, Mo. — Festus Fire Chief Kevin Cremer has died after a weeks-long battle with COVID-19.
The Festus Fire Department announced that Cremer died in the ICU Monday morning after battling complications from the virus.
Cremer, 48, was a 29-year veteran of the fire service, the department said. He spent 13 of those years with the Hematite Fire Protection District before starting at the Festus Fire Department on Sept. 13, 2005.
He leaves behind a wife, two children and two grandchildren, the department said.
In a previous interview with 5 On Your Side, the department's training officer Travis Wood called him "a great person" with "the biggest heart."
"He takes care of all of us. He’s a family man, he’s just truly an amazing guy. He’s receptive. He’s probably one of the best people I’ve worked under. He works with you and takes whatever you want to do and will make it happen," he said.
On Monday, Wood said the recent outpouring of support has been much appreciated by the department.
“We’ve just had such a roller coaster ride of emotions,” said Wood. “One day he’d be making progress, then he wouldn’t be making progress. He oxygen saturation would be going up, then it would go down. Other things like that kept happening. It was just a roller coaster of emotions.”
In a statement posted to Facebook, Festus Mayor Sam Richards said of Cremer: "A wonderful husband, father, and friend he will be deeply missed by all who knew him, especially his City of Festus Family and his brothers and sisters within the Fire service.”
Funeral arrangements have been made through the Mahn Funeral Home in Festus. Services are set to welcome family, friends and loved ones. A public visitation has not been announced.
Contributions can be made to the Festus Fire Department in honor of Chief Cremer.
5 On Your Side inquired if Cremer was vaccinated. We were told they were not authorized to discuss his vaccination status unless they have consent directly from the employee. If they do not, they can't disclose the status.