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Austin Fire Department 'heartbroken' after firefighter dies of COVID-19

Rodney "Rod" Kelley was a 20-year veteran of the department.

AUSTIN, Texas — An Austin Fire Department (AFD) firefighter has died of COVID-19. Rodney “Rod” Kelley died Sunday, Aug. 29, according to a Twitter post from the department.

Kelley was a member of the fire department for 20 years. AFD said it is “heartbroken” after Kelley lost his battle with the coronavirus.

“Please keep his family, friends, and crew in your thoughts and prayers, and we ask for your respect and kindness as we grieve the loss of our brother,” a tweet from AFD read.

Last week, two officers from the Austin Police Department died of COVID-19 two days in a row. APD announced it is tightening its COVID-19 protocols on Sunday. 

RELATED: 'I can't express how terribly they're going to be missed' | Austin interim police chief speaks after two officers die of COVID-19

In May, Texas lawmakers passed a bill stating that if a firefighter dies of COVID-19, it is presumed they contracted the virus during the "course and scope of employment."

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