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'A hero in my eyes': Retired Largo firefighter fighting for his life

Phillip Bailey served the Pinellas County area for about 30 years as a firefighter.

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — A local hero needs your support.  

Retired Pinellas County firefighter Phillip Bailey is in the hospital fighting for his life. He was sick, caught COVID-19 and had his leg amputated.

Bailey was a firefighter and paramedic for over 30 years in Pinellas County.

"He was a hero in my eyes for sure," Phillip's son, Stephen Bailey, said. 

Phillip taught for years at the St. Petersburg Fire Academy and the National Fire Academy.

Phillip has always been known as being strong, until recently. 

"In mid-October, he developed an ulcer on his foot," Stephen said. 

From there, his illness got worse. Phillip was known as a strong hero who then became weak. He has diabetic neuropathy.

Credit: Stephen Bailey

"That ulcer just got worse and he became septic," his son said.

Phillip had his leg amputated and contracted COVID-19. For over a week, Stephen had no contact with his dad.

Stephen also said his dad was so sick, he could barely talk. The family said the community is getting them through such a difficult time.

Firefighters at different departments and people in the Pinellas County region have supported them with love and donations.

Stephen said his dad was shocked when he found out about all the support. 

"He wasn’t expecting that and wasn’t saying much, but 'God bless them all,'" Stephen said.

The family is raising money for medical bills and making Phillip’s home handicap accessible. 

"His heart is only working like 25 percent, so I think COVID-19 took a toll on him for sure," Stephen said.

This hero has been known to be strong. 

"He did say he wasn’t a quitter so that’s a good thing," Stephen said.

More good is needed so with the community's support, Phillip said he hopes to regain his strength. 

"He served his community well and we’re just hoping the community can give back a little bit," Stephen said.

The goal for the family is to raise $20,000. You can donate online.

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