Seattle Fire Lieutenant: ‘I felt my decision to not get vaccinated was a foolish decision’

KING COUNTY, Wash. — A Seattle firefighter who battled COVID-19 is sharing his story to encourage other firefighters to get vaccinated.

“It’s unnecessary to go through and it’s a very dangerous gamble,” said Lt. Tony Miceli. “I almost lost my life for it.”

Miceli works on Engine 9 at Fire Station 9, in Fremont; but on Aug. 25, he was the one calling 911. He’d tested positive for COVID-19 a few days earlier and was now having trouble breathing. When the 911 operator asked him to make sure the front door was unlocked, he told her he was too weak to even stand up from the couch to check the front door. He told her to have firefighters knock it down if necessary.

“I’m thoroughly convinced had I not called 911 I would not have survived the night,” said Miceli.

Everett firefighters raced him to the ER at Providence Medical Center. The hospital was full, but they made room. A nurse prepared him for what could be next.

“She said, ‘It’s my job to keep you off the ventilator. I need your help doing that because oftentimes when (you) go on, you don’t come off.’ That was the second wave of, ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe I got myself into this’. You feel very responsible, I was embarrassed,” said Miceli.

Miceli is 46 years old and has worked for Seattle Fire for 22 years. During the pandemic he’s worked more than 160 shifts, caring for others, and still didn’t get vaccinated.

“I think I was caught up, just like so many people, in the political side of things, when politics has nothing to do with it, right or left side,” said Miceli. “After what I experienced, I felt my decision to not get vaccinated was a foolish decision.”

Now he hopes fellow firefighters will get vaccinated to save themselves from going through what he experienced.

“I would like my colleagues to reconsider,” said Miceli, “because it’s really important; it’s really important and I wish I had done it.”