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New legislation could help firefighters diagnosed with cancer

Posted: 7:28 PM, Apr 26, 2019
Updated: 2019-04-26 23:29:25Z
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PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — It's a difficult job that comes with a lot of risks.

"We definitely fight very hard for any safety-related issues," Scott Bielecky said.

Bielecky knows the dangers of being a firefighter firsthand. For 36 years he worked as a firefighter. Now he helps to keep his fellow brothers and sisters safe as the president of the Professional Firefighters and Paramedics of Palm Beach County.

"There were things we were not aware of back when I started in 1978 that have come to light more recently," Bielecky said.

He's talking about cancer and how firefighters are more at risk.

"But we just wanted protection," he said.

If signed into law by the Governor firefighters diagnosed with certain types of cancer after July 1st will be able to get a lump sum of 25,000 dollars. However, SB 426 will not cover those already diagnosed.

"We would not have been able to get it passed trying to go back and retroactively cover people who have already been diagnosed with cancer," Bielecky said.

Still, Lerissa Kline who lost her father to Pancreatic Cancer in 2015 says this type of legislation would have helped her family.

"It put a lot of stress on him because he wasn't able to work," she recalled. "He had to take time off to get the treatments. The extra money they were talking about would of helped because he was treated down in Miami and they live in West Palm Beach."

Now, she's happy others will have more support.

"I think this is a really big step because first responders are out there to help people and they put themselves at risk every day," Kline said.