Carthage rescinds letter vetoing legislation to cover cancer for volunteer firefighters

After nearly an hour of personal testimonies, the Carthage village board made a motion to rescind a letter vetoing legislation that would provide cancer coverage to volunteer firefighters.

“So we have a concern that the taxpayers are the people who are going to be paying for this and the state provided no money,” said Village Board President Wayne McIlroy.

The legislation would extend insurance coverage to volunteer firefighters who have been diagnosed with cancer due to years of exposure to carcinogens.

“The estimated costs depending on carriers have been documented from 63 dollars a firefighter to 90 dollars a firefighter,” said Brian McQueen of the FASNY Board of Directors.

After learning of the letter, local volunteer firefighters took action.

“I first [saw] it in the newspaper, and I just couldn’t believe what I was reading,” said Carthage Assistant Fire Chief Brian Draper.

Dozens came to the Monday night village board meeting, urging the board to reconsider.

“Right now, every one of these volunteer firefighters from your community [has] no coverage if they get cancer providing a service to the residents of your village,” said FASNY President Kenneth Pienkowski.

The village agreed to rewrite the letter, explicitly stating support of the legislation, but urging the state to provide financial assistance.