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Firefighter's Widow, Children Get No Death Benefits

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Firefighter's Widow, Children Get No Death Benefits

Old 11-08-04, 12:44 AM
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Firefighter's Widow, Children Get No Death Benefits

Firefighter's Widow, Children Get No Death Benefits
Town Votes Against Helping Part-Time Firefighter's Family

POSTED: 10:03 pm EST November 7, 2004
UPDATED: 10:52 pm EST November 7, 2004

BOSTON -- A Massachusetts firefighter had two young daughters and a third on the way when he died after barreling into a burning basement last November.

In Tuesday's election, the townspeople of Lancaster sparked outrage by narrowly voting to deny Marty McNamara's widow survivor benefits. The headline in the local paper read: "Lancaster picks pocketbook over heart by 18 votes."

The vote exposed a system in which towns ask part-time and volunteer firefighters to risk their lives, but leave their families with no survivors benefits.

Officials plan to meet Monday to consider other ways to help Claire McNamara and her family.

Lawrence Holmberg, president of the Massachusetts Call/Volunteer Firefighters Association, in told The Associated Press that he understands why many in Lancaster voted the way they did because the state and the town have had a tough time financially over the past few years.

According to the National Volunteer Fire Council, half the states have no pension benefits for widows of volunteer firefighters who die in the line of duty.

Old 11-08-04, 12:54 AM
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Well it kinda comes from the "firefighter" tort rule that states that a certain type of rescuer has already been compenstated for his work ahead of time. Unfair as it might sound, other areas around the country have come to the same conclusion regarding volunteer firefighters.
Old 11-08-04, 01:23 AM
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could the widow still at least apply for social security or something?
Old 11-08-04, 01:50 AM
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Benefits (life insurance, health coverage) are slowing being weeded out of many positions. Many private companies are slowly doing "all they can" to circumvent the current laws which require employers to offer benefits. Most managers of corporate businesses nowadays (Bestbuy, CVS, Walmart, Lowes, Home Depot) are being pressured to cut hours, if necessary, so they are not obligated to pay health coverage. Part time workers are being used more often to reduce the cost to the company.
Old 11-08-04, 01:55 AM
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I believe that's why they're called "volunteers". It worked the same way in the small town I was raised in. These men and women serve out of a sense of civic duty (and the fact that they get to spend far more time drinking brews at the firehouse than they do actually being put in harm's way) . They are well aware of the consequences. That being said, I sure would have voted in favor of the support.
Old 11-08-04, 08:24 AM
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Perhaps, the next time there is a fire, the other volunteers could say, "Fuck, let it burn."

They certainly should reconsider their level of risk -taking, vs standing back 100' and pissing on it with a big hose. No inside rescues, etc.
Old 11-08-04, 08:37 AM
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It's certainly a bad situation, but, that's exactly why I DO NOT VOLUNTEER for such jobs. Hopefully something can be done, and this should be a wake-up call to volunteers with a stipulation they will not be compensated if they die.

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