When Charlotte firefighter Seth Tinsley died at 34 of brain cancer in 2016, his name went on the International Association of Fire Fighter’s memorial in Colorado Springs, Colo., for those lost in the line of duty.
Tinsley’s own state, however, made no connection between his 11 years of fire service and his early death.
Growing medical evidence suggests it should. Federal studies show that firefighters, who are often engulfed in toxic substances at fire scenes, are more likely than the rest of us to be diagnosed with several forms of cancer, including brain cancer.
North Carolina allows $100,000 in death benefits to police fighters, firefighters and rescue squad members who are judged to have died in the line of duty. But the state Industrial Commission, which decides those cases, has awarded benefits when firefighters died of cancer just twice.