Fire chief’s widow gets court’s OK to battle for benefits

By FireRescue1 Staff

ALLEGHENY COUNTY, Pa. — The widow of a fire chief who died of cancer won a court appeal this week, prompting an appeals board to reconsider their refusal to award her benefits.

Imperial Volunteer Fire Chief Roy Steele died August 2011 from stage four lung cancer. His wife, Cheryl, has lobbied to win benefits following his death, PennLive reported.

Although she initially was awarded benefits, the state workers’ compensation appeals board overturned the decision. The board stated that Steele was unable to provide documentation proving her husband’s death resulted from toxins he was exposed to while on the job.

The board specifically cited her failure to submit data from the Pennsylvania Fire Information Reporting System to document the fires Chief Steele fought; the reports are required when filing worker’s compensation claims.

Regardless, a judge ruled that the testimony of Chief Steele’s colleagues was sufficient.

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