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Firefighters battle occupational cancer

Since 2002, almost 2 out of 3 firefighters who died in the line of duty died of cancer, as today’s fires produce an ever-more toxic brew of chemicals, yet many sickened first responders are being denied workers’ comp benefits

It’s one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. Every day firefighters risk their own lives to protect the lives of others. Firefighters like Fire Captain Mike Palumbo. During his more than two decades of service, his wife Chrissy and their five kids couldn’t help worrying about the job’s more obvious dangers.

“He was drawn to service, I think,” Chrissy said. “He was very passionate about giving back to the community that gave him the opportunity to have that career.”

But a few years ago, far from any smoke or fire, something else caught up with Palumbo while hiking near the family’s home in Beachwood, Ohio

“I knew as soon as we got there, something was wrong,” Chrissy told correspondent Tony Dokoupil. “And I tried to convince him just to get back in the car. He was, like, ‘No, I’m fine, I’m fine.’ And we got down the ravine. And he literally walked into a tree. And I just panicked.”

She rushed Mike to the hospital, where they learned he had stage 4 brain cancer.

Dokoupil asked, “What do you do when you get that kind of news?”

“I literally crawled into bed with him and prayed into his ear,” Chrissy replied, crying. “I had my kids brought in, ’cause I didn’t know if they’d ever see him again.”

Read on: Firefighters battle occupational cancer

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