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Chicago Fire Department loses first member to COVID-19

This undated photo provided by the Chicago fire department shows Mario Araujo. The Chicago Fire Department says Araujo, a firefighter with more than 16 years of experience has died from complications of COVID-19, department spokesman Larry Langford tweeted Tuesday, April 7, 2020. (Chicago fire department via AP)
This undated photo provided by the Chicago fire department shows Mario Araujo. The Chicago Fire Department says Araujo, a firefighter with more than 16 years of experience has died from complications of COVID-19, department spokesman Larry Langford tweeted Tuesday, April 7, 2020. (Chicago fire department via AP)

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CHICAGO (AP) — A Chicago firefighter who died Tuesday night from complications of COVID-19 is the first member of the department to be killed by the virus, a spokesman said.

Mario Araujo's death came just days after the city's police department announced that Officer Marco DiFranco had become its first member to die from complications of the virus.

Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford said the 49-year-old Araujo joined the department in October 2003 and spent most of his career in the Rogers Park neighborhood on the city's North Side.

Langford said that as of Wednesday morning, 48 members of the fire department had tested positive for the coronavirus.

It wasn’t known how Araujo contracted COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, but Langford said the department and the firefighters union would investigate the death to determine how it will be classified.

Last Friday, a day after DiFranco's death, Interim Chicago Police Superintendent Charlie Beck announced that the officer's death would be considered a line-of-duty death, ensuring that his widow and children will receive benefits and honors.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

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Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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