After he was diagnosed with testicular cancer, Casper Fire Captain Jeff Atkinson wanted to spend his free time creating lasting memories with his two boys — he didn’t want to waste precious hours filling out paperwork or arguing his claim for worker’s compensation.
The captain filed for workers’ compensation after he became sick, his wife said, but he was denied. The couple could have appealed the decision or tried to file again, but there just didn’t seem to be enough time between surgeries, treatments, working and trying to raise two elementary-age kids.
“We didn’t really have the time or energy to fight what we thought was going to be a tough fight,” Kristen Atkinson, his wife, said.
A city resident, who was rejected as a firefighter because he has high blood pressure, has filed a $500,000 federal discrimination lawsuit against the city.
Antonio Dias, 30, claims that although the city’s own doctor said he can perform the duties of a firefighter as long as he takes medication for his high blood pressure the city’s personnel director refused to clear Dias.
“We believe it’s a very strong case for disability discrimination and the decision to withdraw my client’s job offer was based on unjustified fears of a medical condition which is fully controlled through medication,” said Dias’ lawyer, Gary Phelan, of Stratford.
City officials didn’t immediately return calls for comment.
Boise Fire Chief Dennis Doan said he is outraged after the House State Affairs Committee voted, 6-9, on Monday not to move forward with legislation that would close a fireworks loophole in Idaho.
Meridian Fire Chief Mark Niemeyer also echoed Doan’s concerns in a statement released Monday afternoon, and Nampa Fire Chief Phil Roberts has also stated in the past he is among those in favor of banning the sale of aerial fireworks.
“This summer when someone’s home burns down due to aerial fireworks you can blame the House State Affairs Committee,” Doan said in a statement.
Doan previously announced his plans to work with lawmakers to make it unlawful to purchase or possess illegal fireworks in the state. The current law allows residents to purchase the illegal fireworks but not light them.
McLennan County’s state representatives have expressed support for a bill that would allow first responders with a state License to Carry a Handgun to carry while responding to emergencies, but local officials have differing views.
Waco Fire Chief Bobby Tatum, said he’s adamantly opposed to firefighters caring guns on duty.
“I would be in favor of leaving guns in the hands of police officers,” Tatum said. “We have a specific mission to save lives and property, and I think carrying a firearm would cross the line in that regard.”
McLennan County doesn’t have a policy in place, but the Waco Fire Department prohibits firefighters from carrying on duty. The bill would implement a statewide policy requiring local jurisdictions to allow licensed first responders to keep their guns on them during calls.
Fire chiefs and firefighters on Monday urged Gov. Scott Walker to require new homes to have more devices to prevent fires, saying a new electrical code being considered by his administration doesn't go far enough.
"This is a reckless disregard for safety," said Wauwatosa Fire Chief Rob Ugaste, president of the Wisconsin State Fire Chiefs Association.
A committee of experts assembled by the Department of Safety and Professional Services voted 9-1 last year to require arc-fault and ground-fault circuit interrupters in more places in new homes. The devices prevent fires and shocks. Department officials initially decided to reject those recommendations, but last week Deputy Secretary Eric Esser said no final decision had been made. The proposal is opposed by the Wisconsin Builders Association because it would add hundreds of dollars to the cost of a new home.
Stevens Point Journal