Sick firefighter bill reaches Governor's desk

Right now there is a bill on Governor Snyder's desk that would allow firefighters to get workers compensation if they develop cancer on the job.

Mark Docherty, President of the Michigan Professional Firefigher's Union says, "we know as firefighters that we take risks and we are willing to accept those risks.  We just want to know that if we contract the disease or are injured on the job that we are going to be taken care of."

Sometimes the consequences develop over time. Breathing in fumes that contain smoke and carcinogens that are known to cause cancer happens every time presumably a firefighter enters the dangerous environment, few know that better than metro Detroit firefighter Chris Slezak.

"I was at a house fire and I felt really tired winded, shortly after I was told I had leukemia," says Slezak.

Treatment was costly for Slezak and his family. Slezak says, "my insurance was going to be withdrawn because it was an off-duty injury."

Slezak was off the job for nearly two years. "The guys pitched in and paid my premiums so i never lost my insurance."

But he knows not everyone is that lucky which is why he's sharing his story in support of a cancer presumption bill that passed the House and Senate and now sits on Governor Snyder's desk.  

If signed into law the bill would allow firefighters insurance to cover cancer treatment much like worker's compensation does.  

Firefighters have come close before to getting a similar bill passed. Governor Engler vetoed a similar bill in 1997.  Those opposed say the burden of paying for insurance would be passed on to the taxpayer, however firefighters say that's not the case with this current bill.

We're told the Governor only has two weeks to sign the bill before it's back to the drawing board. 
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