Arkansas Captain Fighting for Life in Battle for Pension

A retired Springdale fire captain fighting cancer is also facing another battle -- one over his pension benefits.

Capt. Harold "Bud" Planchon and his wife say the executive director of the Arkansas Local Police and Fire Retirement System has let his disability retirement claim hang in limbo for more than a year, according to The Arkansas Times.

The 24-year veteran was diagnosed with terminal colorectal cancer in 2009 and it has since spread to his liver. He retired from the department last year.

He told the newspaper that his doctors say on-the-job exposure from smoke and vapors from Hazmat calls and diesel fumes from the unventilated firehouse where he worked for more than decades contributed to his illness.

More than 40 states consider certain forms of cancer as being job related. Arkansas currently does not.

The LOPFI has requested large amounts of documentation that links Planchon's cancer to his job.

Executive Director David Clark told the newspaper that this is the reason the case has dragged on, but Planchon's wife, Jane, believes the system is waiting for her husband to die so that it doesn't have to set a precedent that would require it to pay benefits to other firefighters with cancer in the future.