New photos show heartbreaking final days of HFD Captain who died of COVID-19

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Friday, July 24, 2020
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Capt. Leroy Lucio's family maintained a vigil outside his hospital room for weeks.

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (KTRK) -- New photos give a heartbreaking look at Houston Fire Department Capt. Leroy Lucio's final days.

As the COVID-stricken HFD veteran fought for his life inside, his wife, Eulalia 'La La' Alaniz, kept an around-the-clock vigil right outside his first floor hospital window at PAM Specialty Hospital of San Antonio.

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of Captain Leroy Lucio," said Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña. "Our hearts go out to his family, friends and the many lives he touched through his work in our community. Such a kind person will be missed, but my faith comforts me that his work here on earth was complete and God called for him to be by his side as he watches over all first responders."

Alaniz was joined night and day for more than two weeks by Lucio's 28-year-old son and 41-year-old stepson. For the last week, firefighters from the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association joined them as well, supplying a tent for the group as they held out hope the 29-year HFD vet would improve.

"We mourn the loss of our friend," said Patrick Lancton, HPFFA's president. "His tragic death is a reminder to be vigilant in our efforts to keep our families, friends and station crews safe in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic."

In one of the photos supplied by HPFFA, Alaniz can be seen resting in a chair outside the hospital window.

In another, she is surrounded by friends and family all wearing masks.

Lucio had been on a ventilator for days. He died Monday.

COVID-19 restrictions kept them from being inside with Lucio. The hospital did allow the family in to see him on occasion. The San Antonio Fire Department donated full sets of PPE so Lucio's family could venture inside his room.

His family is still finalizing funeral arrangements. Lucio is considered a line-of-duty death, and the first coronavirus death in the Houston Fire Department.

Lucio's death comes as the city of Houston also announced two public works employees passed away as well.

In a press conference on Monday, Mayor Sylvester Turner said that at least 224 municipal employees, not including police or firefighters, have tested positive for the virus.

SEE ALSO: Mayor Turner asks city to be 'understanding' on city work delays amid COVID-19 pandemic

Now, while no fire stations are closed, Pena said 162 firefighters are in quarantine, with 38 testing positive for the virus.

Information regarding the captain's services will be announced soon, Pena said.