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Online portal shows data and statistics of filed firefighter cancer claims

(AP Photo/Christian Monterrosa)

PHOENIX — Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich is thanking the Industrial Commission of Arizona for responding to a letter he sent to them asking to provide more assistance to “Arizona’s heroes.”

At the end of August and in the midst of Fighting Fires and Cancer, an in-depth report KTAR News 92.3 FM told this summer, Brnovich’s letter asked the Industrial Commission of Arizona to look into “several troubling disputes at the municipal level involving healthcare benefits for firefighters who suffer from various condition, including certain forms of cancer.”

Now, the commission is responding.

During an Ad Hoc Committee meeting last week, Director of the Industrial Commission of Arizona James Ashley announced they had collected data and other statistics regarding first responders’ worker’s compensation claims filed.

They’ve since compiled it into an online portal on their website which they say will be updated monthly.

“Part of what was missing in this really tragic story was the data and information regarding what was happening with the various cities,” Brnovich said Tuesday. “Since that letter was written that information is now available on their website.”

Brnovich believes it comes down to the cities following the law and at the end of the day, regardless of the legalities He wants the cities to protect their first responders.

“What we have all seen, is that it comes down to shaming the cities into doing the right thing,” Brnovich said. “Remember, there is a statute that says there is a presumption that these certain kinds of cancers and illnesses are job related.”

He went on to say, “The fundamental question we all need to be asking our local elected officials is, Why are they doing the wrong thing in the wrong way?”

Brnovich believes the main problem that allows cities to get away with denying firefighters their benefits with a law in place is there being no penalty or punishment after they do it.

As it stands, Brnovich and his office are standing by their efforts to ensure cities do right by their first responders.

He says with what the Industrial Commission has done by putting this information up on their website is a good first step in the right direction.

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