By Liz Bishop, CBS Albany
Asst. Chief Jim Brooks Jr. of Whitehall suffered a ruptured aorta while responding to a fire in the town of Dresden last May. He died four months later after complications set in.
The 45-year-old Brooks reportedly racked up nearly a million dollars in medical expenses fighting for his life–which Washington County Workman’s Comp refused to pay.
Today, state lawmakers, firefighters and Brooks’ family members stood in front of the Firefighters Memorial at the Empire State Plaza, while lawmakers introduced the Chief James Brooks Jr. Act, aimed at ensuring that those who suffer vascular ruptures in the line of duty are covered in the same way heart attacks suffered in the line of duty are covered.
Other volunteer firefighters argued that, in addition to paying the medical expenses being the right thing to do, “not” paying chief Brooks’ claim set a dangerous precedent that could keep people from volunteering.
The bill is sponsored by state senator John Brooks–himself a volunteer firefighter for more than 50 years, along with senator Dan Stec, of the North Country and Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner of Round Lake.
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