A Fire Department official claims a Brooklyn firefighter came down with COVID-19 after three teenage boys in Borough Park taunted him about the coronavirus and one of the teens sneezed into the firefighter's face.
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Lt. Kasey Koslowski of Engine Co. 282 made the claim in a letter last week to the Department's Chief of Operations, Thomas Richardson. The letter was obtained by NY1.
According to the letter, the incident began when firefighters from Borough Park responded to a call on March 18 at 47 St. and Fort Hamilton Parkway.
The letter says one of the firefighters was checking a hydrant when he was approached by the three teenage boys, who, the letter alleges, "taunted him and asked him if he was afraid of the coronavirus."
The letter claims the firefighter made repeated attempts to keep his distance from the boys, but one of them managed to sneeze into the firefighter's face before running off.
The lieutenant's letter goes on to say that four days after the "unusual occurrence," the firefighter began experiencing flu-like symptoms, and was later tested for COVID-19 and placed on medical leave. The firefighter eventually tested positive for coronavirus, the letter says.
"Although we will not be able to tell if this positive COVID-19 test result is a direct outcome of the previous incident, what we do know is the continued lack disregard by the citizens of Boro (sic) Park for the state of emergency policy," the letter says.
The letter adds, "In a time when personal space and social distancing is at an all-time high, it is going to take a cumulative effort from everyone to defeat this virus, including the residents of Boro Park."
The FDNY says it cannot comment on whether or not the firefighter has in fact tested positive for the virus, citing patient rights, and offered no comment about the allegations raised in the lieutenant's letter.
NY1 also reached out to community leaders in Borough Park, and calls have not been returned.
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