FESTUS, Mo. — The St. Louis area is mourning the loss of another firefighter who’s died in the line of duty. Festus Fire Chief Kevin Cremer died Monday morning from complications with COVID-19.
The fire department honored Chief Cremer by lowering their flag at half-staff and draping black bunting across the department headquarters.
Firefighter Travis Wood said anyone who was lucky enough to know Chief Kevin Cremer, knew him as a guy who loved his family, golfing, and being a firefighter.
“I’ve known the man for a few years now. A lot of us more than others have known him. And he was a family member to us, and it really hurts. He was like a father figure,” said Wood.
Firefighter Travis Wood said Chief Cremer was taken off life-support Monday morning after battling COVID-19 for weeks. He explains Cremer was taken by ambulance to the ER and was eventually put in the ICU. He was diagnosed with COVID pneumonia.
“He just gradually deteriorated,” Wood said.
This death comes after another “in the line of duty” firefighter death. St. Louis firefighter Bejamine Polson was laid to rest last week after dying in a house fire. Wood said the loss of Chief Cremer has left a hole in the entire community.
“He was seriously a major part of this organization of the community. He kept everybody in line and made sure everything was going the right direction,”
Cremer has been part of the Festus Fire Department for 16 years and was chief for the past four years. He spent a total of 21 years as a dispatcher and 29 years in the fire service. Wood said he was the best boss – who always cared – and made you smile with his fun catchphrase.
“His biggest claim to fame was, ‘The whoo!’ I would have a little bit of fun and go, ‘Whoo’!” Wood said. “It’s painful. He saw something in me and put me to every task he thought was necessary. It really hurts me.”
Chief Cremer passed away at age 48 and leaves behind a wife, two kids, and two grandkids.
There is a GoFundMe page set up for Chief Cremer’s family to pay for funeral expenses. No funeral arrangements have been made yet, but we will share those details once we find out more.