Emergency service workers hold a special place in society. When we are evacuating burning buildings, they are the ones running into the structure to rescue those trapped inside and minimize damage. Of course, these jobs are risky. One North Carolina firefighter learned about the dangers of fighting fires as he received a workplace injury when his department was called to extinguish a massive fire at an old textile mill.
In the very early hours of the morning, firefighters received a call about the burning mill. By the time they arrived, flames could be seen emerging from the roof. Within the next hour or so, the fire intensified, due to a faulty sprinkler system. This prompted officials to sound three alarms in order to fight the inferno. The fire was controlled within about two hours from the time firefighters first arrived on the scene.
Thankfully, no one was in the building and the portion that burned was vacant. However, not everyone walked away from the scene unscathed. One of the firefighters, who helped to effectively minimize the fire damage, suffered heat exhaustion while in the line of duty.
When a person suffers an injury while they are performing the duties of their occupation, such as this firefighter's case of heat exhaustion, they may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits. Such injuries can lead to numerous medical bills, wages lost while a person is rendered unable to work and suffering. It is part of an employer's obligation to their workers to assist them when they are hurt in the course doing what they are told.
It takes a special type of person to be selfless enough to risk their health every day they go to work. Sometimes it's easy to forget that there are people that gladly put themselves in harm's way to protect everyone else against it. Hopefully, this firefighter gets the care and assistance he needs to return to full health and fighting fires.
Source: Charlotte Observer, "Firefighter hurt in 3-alarm Rowan fire," Steve Lyttle, Feb. 2, 2012