Fire Chief Dies of COVID-19 After Week in NC Hospital

Firefighter fatality

Hayley Fowler

The Charlotte Observer

(MCT)

A 51-year-old fire chief from North Carolina has died after “a brief battle with COVID-19,” local officials said.

Division chief Mark Covil with Pender County EMS and Fire died Monday at New Hanover Regional Medical Center, according to his obituary.

“Chief Covil served in many areas of emergency services throughout his career and made many lifelong friendships as a result. He will be deeply missed,” Pender EMS and Fire said in a Facebook post confirming his death. “Please keep our staff in your thoughts and prayers as we mourn his loss and continue to serve.”

Pender County is on the coast of North Carolina just north of Wilmington.

Covil was hospitalized the week of Aug. 23 while “batting covid pneumonia with complications,” according to Facebook posts shared by his wife.

Denise Covil, who goes by Denise Irunfor Michael on Facebook, shared near daily updates on her husband’s prognosis while asking for prayers. Early in his hospital stay, she said he was getting pressurized oxygen but seemed in “better spirits.”

A few days later, Covil was in a coma and placed on a ventilator.

“His oxygen levels could not be kept high enough to continue the treatment plan and his spirits were low, the nurse said,” Denise Covil wrote in another update. “I ask everyone to continue to pray that this treatment will give his lungs time to heal and his body and mind can rest so he can recover and get back home.”

Denise Covil said her husband was stable on Saturday but still intubated and using a feeding tube. By Sunday, she said Covil was on dialysis.

“The doctor said it wasn’t a setback but with everything they’re doing and what he has going on that it wasn’t surprising,” she wrote. “He said things look good.”

Covil died less than 24 hours later at 4 p.m. Monday, his wife said.

“I’m just completely lost without you,” Denise Covil wrote in a final update. “You were not supposed to be there. Honey, I love you and I’m missing you so bad. I know you are at the right hand of God and I know you are completely healed.”

Covil has worked at Pender EMS and Fire since 2013, the Surf City Police Department said.

He previously worked at the Sunny Point Ocean Military Fire Department, Hampstead Volunteer Fire Department, Ogden Volunteer Fire Department and with New Hanover County Fire-Rescue.

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