The Asheville Fire Department (AFD) is elated to share the news that the Industrial Commission has ruled that AFD’s Engineer Will Willis’ passing, who died in February due to cancer, is considered a line of duty death.
Not only will his family receive survivor benefits but his children will receive free college education at a public NC university. In addition, Will’s name will be added to the state memorial in Raleigh with a ceremony to be held in May.
“It is very uncommon and tremendous for the fire service that this determination happened,” states Fire Chief Scott Burnette. “AFD is so grateful for this decision and we thank NC OSFM and DOI who assisted Will’s family in completing the paperwork which resulted in this outcome.”
The decision by the Industrial Commission is an important step toward recognizing the rising cancer deaths among firefighters. The Asheville Fire Department currently has many policies in place that help to protect their firefighters from cancer. Another great accomplishment is the City Council’s approval to purchase each firefighter a second set of gear to ensure they do not wear contaminated gear after exposure in a fire.