The St. Paul Fire Department is grieving for three of its members, who all died in the last few weeks.
The department recently announced the deaths of Thomas McDonough, Michael Paidar and Floyd Jones.
The International Association of Fire Fighters and the St. Paul Fire Department recognize the deaths of McDonough and Paidar as occurring in the line of duty and are seeking benefits for their families.
Following the same path as his father, firefighter Thomas McDonough started his career with the St. Paul Fire Department in 2015. He is a graduate of Park High School in Cottage Grove.
According to the Pioneer Press, McDonough was affected by things he witnessed on the job, causing him to lose sleep. Family believed McDonough began suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder,
McDonough’s father encouraged him to seek mental health services made available to fire fighters. McDonough also went to counseling, but it was expensive and turned down his father's offer to pay for it. Family members agree that while more mental health resources are available for fire fighters than in the past, it still remains a challenge.
McDonough died by suicide on Aug. 24.
“Tommy was proud to be a Saint Paul Firefighter and we are blessed to be able to call him our Brother. He was beloved by all that were fortunate to know him. Soft spoken, hard worker, huge heart and always greeted you with a smile on his face,” an announcement from St. Paul Fire Fighters IAFF Local 21 reads.
A GoFundMe has been set up to support McDonough’s children.
Captain Michael Paidar joined the department in 2011. A former KSTP photojournalist, he was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia – a former of blood cancer – earlier this year.
He was also a member of the Maple Grove Fire Department. Paidar died on Aug. 26 surrounded by family.
Paidar’s family is asking for donations to the St. Paul Fire Foundation in his memory. A funeral and visitation will take place on Thursday at Harriet Island in St. Paul.
“Large in stature and even larger in heart; Captain Paidar cared deeply about his family, his fire families, and the communities he served. His natural leadership and overall kind-heartedness will be deeply missed by all that had the distinct pleasure of working along-side him,” an announcement from the St. Paul Fire Department reads.
Fire Equipment Operator Floyd Jones joined the St. Paul Fire Department in 1992, retiring in 2014. He was a graduate of Central High School in St. Paul.
According to the Pioneer Press, Jones was a cancer survivor and regarded as a “trailblazer” in the department. Jones died unexpectedly in his sleep on Aug. 14.
Jones’s son also followed his example and joined the department.
His funeral was held on Aug. 25.