Oronogo fire chief recovers from mysterious disease

Oronogo’s fire chief is used to being there for others in times of need, but a mysterious illness had him fighting for his life.

“They say he has a form of Rhabdomyolysis which is a breakdown of your muscles, basically. So that’s what’s kind of going on but they still don’t know what caused it,” said Nicole Arft, wife of Fire Chief Clay Arft.

In late April, Chief Arft started experiencing muscle pain and a fever and was originally tested for COVID-19. But after those results came back negative as well as tests for tick-related diseases, doctors started taking a closer look at Clay’s muscles.

“They ran a test on his CK enzymes which are his muscle enzymes, and they were at 11,000 that day. The normal value range is around 100,” said Nicole.

Clay found himself bedridden, in pain, and separated from his wife because of Coronavirus precautions.

But then things started to get better, and Clay’s family thinks the many prayers said by friends and family made a difference.

“One morning, (enzyme levels) just started to drop. It was just a miracle. (Doctors) didn’t really treat him for anything except for finding emergency care for him. But they didn’t give him anything to make those numbers go down. They just kind of started dropping on their own,” said Nicole.

Things are looking up for Clay and his family, but he isn’t out of the woods yet.

Friends, family, and fellow firefighters are helping raise money for Clay’s medical expenses and rehab, and are doing so by encouraging folks to purchase Arftstrong t-shirts. You can support Clay by purchasing one right here.

Clay says he’s eternally grateful for all the support.

“I just want to say ‘thank you’ to everybody back home that said prayers and helped us out with things. It’s just truly, truly unbelievable all the support that I have from the community and friends and family. It’s truly a blessing,” said Clay.