Unified Fire captain dies from complications of COVID-19

Capt. Merrill Bone was a 35-year veteran of both Unified and Salt Lake City fire departments.

(Unified Fire Authority) Capt. Merrill Bone, who served 35 years with Unified Fire Authority and Salt Lake City Fire Department, died Oct. 31, 2021, from complications of COVID-19.

A captain from Salt Lake County’s Unified Fire Authority has died from complications of COVID-19, the UFA has reported.

Capt. Merrill Bone died Sunday evening, the department reported on its social media. Bone’s death is considered in the line of duty, a UFA spokesperson said, because he may have been exposed to the coronavirus through his work as a paramedic. He was 61, and had been hospitalized for the last two weeks at Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, the spokesperson added.

Bone had been vaccinated against COVID-19, according to his son, Travis — adding that his dad had been diagnosed with cancer, which had compromised his immune system.

“He believed in the importance of vaccinations to public health,” Travis Bone said in an email.

Bone joined the Unified Fire Authority’s force in August 2006 as a paramedic. In 2013, he was promoted to captain, based at Station 111A in Magna, the UFA reported.

Before working for UFA, Bone served 20 years with the Salt Lake City Fire Department as firefighter and paramedic.

With both agencies, he was a member of the Heavy Rescue Program and was an active member of the Urban Search and Rescue Utah Task Force 1 (UT-TF1), a unit that can be deployed to emergency situations across the country. Among Bone’s deployments with UT-TF1 was to New York City after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

“Merrill’s legacy will live on in the lives of those he helped mentor in his 35 years of dedication to the service of others,” the UFA post said.

The post prompted an outpouring of condolences from people who said they worked with Bone or were friends with him over the years.

Firefighters from UFA formed a procession Sunday evening to escort Bone’s body from Intermountain Medical Center to a local mortuary. A piper played as two people moved a gurney carrying Bone’s body, wrapped in an American flag, to a waiting hearse.

Details of memorial services will be announced this week, the department said.

(Unified Fire Authority) Firefighters from Salt Lake County's Unified Fire Authority gathered Oct. 31, 2021, at Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, Utah, to escort the body of Capt. Merrill Bone to a local mortuary. Bone died from complications of COVID-19, and the department is recognizing his death as being in the line of duty.