Bill that promises money for firefighter cancer costs gains traction

Firefighters are closer to seeing a new bill gain traction in the state legislature.

Firefighters who risk their lives to save ours were left in the lurch by the state.

They were promised money to help cover the cost of  cancer treatments - cancer they got,  after years of exposure to smoke, on the job.

But the program was never funded. Firefighters are used to a fight.  They wouldn't leave a burning building and when it comes to their health, they won't accept a broken promise.

"We are not going away until it's done and we stay there and make sure they do what is right," said Mark Docherty, the president of the Michigan Professional Fire Fighters Union.

That was demonstrated when 300 Michigan firefighters descended on the steps of the capitol.

It is a battle FOX 2 has covered for over a year. A law that covers medical bills for firefighters who get cancer on the job.

"What Presumption does it says when you develop these 10 cancers it is presumed to be on the job," Docherty said.

The bill passed last year, but zero dollars were put into the account.  Now it appears their collective voice is being heard.

"We stood in support of our firefighters that have developed cancer in the line of duty and the ones who have been abandoned or the ones who have previously suffered.

"We were there hoping they would do something about it and they did."

Sen. David Hildenbrand says he will propose $1 million dollars from this year's budget go to the firefighter presumption fund.

The question is will that be enough?

"We are still looking for long term funding solution for this," Docherty said. "We will keep working to find that. But this will get it started so we can identify the true costs. which will aide us in finding long term solution."

Hildenbrand said he plans to put $1 million into the Presumption fund, he plans to introduce the bill Wednesday. It then has to pass the Senate, House and needs to be signed by Gov. Rick Snyder in a process that could take months.
 


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