USFA: Tennessee On-Duty Death

Chief Spitzer contracted the virus on a medical call.

Chief Spitzer contracted the virus on a medical call

United States Fire Administration

The U.S. Fire Administration has announced the official on-duty death of Chief Ronald “Ronnie” Gene Spitzer, 65, of the Rocky Top Fire Department on January 13, 2021.

Chief Ronald “Ronnie” Gene Spitzer, while on-duty, responded to a medical call on December 11, 2020 with another firefighter. It was determined later that the patient had COVID-19. He and the firefighter both contracted the virus. Chief Ronald “Ronnie” Gene Spitzer passed away on Wednesday, January 13, 2021 from the disease.

Tribute is being paid to Chief Spitzer at

To date, eight firefighter fatalities have been reported to USFA in 2021. Year-to-date and annual USFA firefighter fatality reports are posted online at

Fatality status is provisional and may change as USFA contacts State Fire Marshals to verify fatality incident information.

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