Last of Clayton firefighters hospitalized for COVID-19 returns home

Johnston County News

CLAYTON, N.C. (WNCN)– The last Clayton firefighter who remained hospitalized due to COVID-19 is now back home, the fire department announced Wednesday.

Clayton Fire Engineer Steve Benson was one of six firefighters hospitalized in August following an outbreak of COVID-19 at the department.

He was released from the hospital Wednesday morning to continue his recovery at home.

Firefighter Jason Dean (Courtesy of the Town of Clayton)

Benson, who just turned 62 last week, spent several weeks in intensive care at Johnston Health in Smithfield before being transferred to WakeMed on Sept. 24, the fire department said.

One of the firefighters who tested positive for COVID-19 at the department died from complications of the virus in September, officials said.

Jason Dean was Deputy Chief of Operations & Training with the Clayton Fire Department and had been a firefighter for more than 20 years, according to Town of Clayton spokesperson Stacy Beard.

Dean was 42 years old and leaves behind his wife of more than 16 years and a 13-year-old and 7-year-old daughter.

Alison Michaud Vessie

The wife of a Clayton firefighter also died due to COVID-19 complications.

Alison Michaud Vessie, 53, a cancer survivor, mother and real estate agent died at the end of September, according to Stacy Beard with the Town of Clayton.

Town officials say Vessie died on the same day the town honored Dean.

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