An Attleboro Firefighter is now fighting for his life after potentially contracting COVID-19 while on the job, according to the city’s Firefighters union. Attleboro Firefighters Local 848 President Paul Jacques tells the media the 29-year-old recently tested positive and was admitted to Sturdy Memorial Hospital due to the severity of his symptoms.
Jacques said another Firefighter also tested positive around the same time and has been quarantining. The fFrefighters are two of several members of the Attleboro Fire Department to contract the virus in recent months. Back in September, Mayor Paul Heroux said nine firefighters and two dispatchers tested positive.
Jacques claims Mayor Heroux is refusing to recognize both Firefighters as “injured on duty,” and without that status, any medical expenses they incur as a result of contracting COVID-19 will not be covered.
In response to the accusation, Mayor Heroux said he’s not denying anyone benefits, and the reasoning behind the denial of the status is that there is no evidence that the Firefighter contracted COVID-19 while on duty. Mayor Heroux said COVID-19 is not listed as a presumptive communicable disease in the contract, and the state hasn’t passed legislation that would classify it as presumptive.
“The reason that the state has not passed it is because this virus is far too widespread to assume that people can only catch it at work,” Heroux said. “There is no reason for us to assume that this firefighter caught this at work without any evidence.”
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