Widow of Florida firefighter denied cancer death benefit; County argues it was a ‘personal medical condition’

  • Source: WKMG-TV CBS 6 Orlando
  • Published: 10/06/2021 12:00 AM

When Orange County Fire rescue veteran Erik Siena lost his five-month battle with brain cancer this past May, his wife Christy filed for the line-of-duty death benefit provided under Florida Senate Bill 426. Christy, who served as a paramedic with the department for 16 years, never received out-of-pocket medical expenses, the $7,500 designated for funeral expenses or the $75,000 death benefit promised under the existing law. The county twice denied claims for line-of-duty death, finding that the brain cancer was a “personal medical condition,” not a result of his job. “It’s not fair,” she told News 6. “He always worried about exposure to one warehouse chemical fire.” The 46-year-old firefighter was convinced exposure to hazardous chemicals at an Orlando warehouse chemical fire his unit responded to in April 2006 exposed his team to carcinogens that would eventually catch up to them.


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