SWARTHMORE, Pa. - Delaware County firefighter and paramedic Brad Blackman passed away Monday morning after battling COVID-19 for five weeks.
Blackman had been a volunteer for 37 years at the Swarthmore Fire and Protective Association.
"I think for most of us it hasn't even hit us yet. It's such a shock because he was so healthy,” said Heidi Rubincam, who worked with and was a friend of Blackman’s for 24 years.
She continued, "He was always so gracious when he came over to our house, anything he could do for you he would."
Patrick O’Connell, the regional director of Delaware County EMS, spoke very highly of Blackman who had been a colleague for over 30 years.
"When a friend of mine called and told me, it was just absolutely numbing," he said.
At 56 years old, Blackman was an avid biker and participated in the National Memorial EMS bike ride for the past 10 years.
"He's the last person I would have thought this would happen to, as conscientious as he was," O’Connell said.
His death reminds many people of the danger that EMS workers face during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Brad would want everyone to know COVID is alive, please don't be complacent. Make sure you wear all the proper equipment when dealing with it," said O’Connell.
Blackman’s colleagues say he will be sorely missed. His gear currently hangs in the firehouse.
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