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‘A devoted protector’: Phoenix firefighter dies after long battle with COVID-19

Firefighter Miguel Angulo, a 15-year veteran of the Phoenix Fire Department, died from a COVID-related illness on Monday.

PHOENIX — A 15-year veteran of the Phoenix Fire Department died on Monday after a long battle fighting a COVID-related illness, authorities said. 

Miguel Angulo is the first firefighter in Phoenix to succumb to the coronavirus since the pandemic began last year. He spent most of his career based at Fire Station 25 in Maryvale.

In a statement, the city called Angulo a "dedicated public servant" and "family man" who enjoyed serving his community. 

"Miguel always brought great joy to his fellow brothers and sisters," the Phoenix Fire Department wrote in a statement. "We could always count on Miguel to provide joy with plenty of laughs, great conversation, and fellowship."

12 News spoke to Angulo’s wife over the phone, and she said “Chupa,” as his friends and family called him, was the rock of the family. She described him as a loving, funny person.

His wife said Angulo had been in the ICU, intubated and experienced serious complications for over a month.

Angulo joined the Phoenix Fire department in 2006, but he fulfilled his life-long dream of being a firefighter at the El Mirage Fire Department.

“Our brotherhood has lost a beloved colleague and the residents of Phoenix, a devoted protector,” said the United Phoenix Firefighters Association. “His memory shall serve as our inspiration each day to live his legacy and continue our passion of protecting others at all costs.”

Angulo is survived by his wife of 18 years and his four children.

12 News was told his oldest 24-year-old-son was with him at his bedside during his last moments.

The department said line of duty services will be announced when information is available.

The city will be announcing memorial services for Angulo in the coming days.

Angulo may be the first Phoenix firefighter to die from the coronavirus, but the city has already lost a police officer to the contagious virus. 

Last month, Officer Mathew Hefter died shortly after he contracted the virus. 

The city did not indicate whether Angulo had gotten a COVID-19 vaccine.

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