Westmoreland County

Westmoreland County fire department loses fire chief, 3 auxiliary members to COVID-19

NEW FLORENCE, Pa. — New Florence Volunteer Fire Company is left reeling from the recent loss of not only its Fire Chief Keith Boring, but three auxiliary members.

“We’re doing the best we can with a devastating situation, it’s never going to be the same,” President Brandon Teeter said.

Amy is the wife of firefighter Bernie Sapp. She was a dedicated auxiliary member of the department and a mom to three young kids.

She passed away from COVID-19 last week. Days later, her mother, Connie, and sister, Bonnie, followed.

The sudden loss is why this department is coming together to help some of their own.

“Losing a second income is hard for anyone especially when you’re trying to raise three kids and Bernie, I’ve known him for years, would give the shirt off his back to anyone and ask for nothing. I feel like we owed it to him to make sure we helped them,” Teeter said.

“Bernie, I can’t fathom what that man’s going through with the family members in such a short amount of time. It’s horrible,” Orville Saunders said.

Saunders knew not only the Sapp family, but was close with Chief Boring.

“Losing Keith was like losing a pillar of this community. He gave his shirt off his back if you needed it, (he) would do anything for you any time of day if you needed it,” Saunders said.

As COVID-19 tightens its grip on this small community, members say they’re leaning on each other to get through.

“A lot of people are still hurting and a lot of people are in shock about everything that’s going on here, because I don’t think we’re done with it. It’s going to get worse before it gets better. I don’t know how much worse it could possibly get,” Saunders said.

There is a GoFundMe account set up for the Sapp family to help them and their three children. You can also donate to the Sapps through the fire department.