BOUND BROOK, N.J. (AP) - The family of a volunteer firefighter
who fell and broke his hip at age 93 is entitled to $118,000 in
workers' compensation pay, a state appeals court has ruled.
Frank Capano joined the Bound Brook volunteer fire company in
1918, and was still on the active roster in February 1994 when he
fell at the firehouse.
He died in 1999 at age 99, and had long ago stopped going to
fires. But he still logged numerous hours cleaning the firehouse,
tending the wood-burning stove, socializing with members and
donning his uniform for department functions.
"While petitioner may have been given no direct firefighting
duties or assignments ... as a member of the volunteer fire
department, (he) was performing a `public fire duty' by virtue of
his `maintenance' of the firehouse," the decision read.
The appellate judges recommended that the state Legislature look
at the statute that provides workers' compensation benefits to
volunteer firefighters and rescue workers to determine which
activities should be covered by disability.
"The issue isn't the man's age, the issue is what activities
that benefit a fire company are going to be covered for workers'
compensation, and which ones aren't," Capano's attorney, Theodore
Gast, told The Star-Ledger of Newark for Wednesday's editions.
Capano was alone and stoking the stove on Feb. 19, 1994, when he
fell off a ledge that the stove sat on and broke his hip. His
granddaughter and her husband, Bruce Gorski, then the fire
company's first lieutenant, found him.
Capano suffered a permanent disability, according to testimony
in the case, and underwent partial hip replacement surgery. He
moved into a nursing home, and had to use a wheel chair. Yet he
still dressed in uniform for official pictures at the department's
"He was active until the day of his accident," Gast said. "I
think it was a combination of an old-time sense of civic duty and
responsibility, as well as it becoming just a very, very important
part of his social life."
About a year ago, a workers' compensation judge awarded Capano's
family $118,153 for his temporary and permanent disability. The
fire company, represented by an attorney for Bound Brook's joint
insurance fund, appealed.
(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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12-19-2002, 05:34 AM #1
Deceased fireman's family gets workers' comp
Last edited by NJFFSA16; 12-19-2002 at 05:40 AM.Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
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12-19-2002, 06:30 AM #2
80 + years of service. now that IS crust.
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Look at three of your friends, if they are ok, your it.
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