Mont. firefighter who fought for workers comp law dies of cancer
Great Falls City firefighter Jason Baker, an 18-year veteran of the fire industry, died of Stage 4 lung cancer
By FireRescue1 Staff
GREAT FALLS CITY, Mont. — A firefighter who fought for legislation that would expand firefighter cancer coverage died Wednesday of cancer.
MTPR eported that Great Falls City firefighter Jason Baker, an 18-year veteran of the fire industry, succumbed to Stage 4 lung cancer.
Baker, 45, was diagnosed with the disease in 2016, and while his diagnosis was never connected with any one event, City of Great Falls Fire Fighters IAFF Local 8 President David Van Son said one thing is certain: “Firefighters are getting sick.”
Baker was an outspoken advocate for the Montana Firefighter Health and Safety bill, which is currently being considered by lawmakers.
The bill would expand workers compensation benefits to illnesses likely caused by their jobs.
“Right now the burden of proof is put on the firefighter," Van Son said. "We have to prove that the cancer was caused by our firefighting career. This actually shifts the burden of proof to the workman’s comp insurance company.”
Van Son said that while a similar bill was killed in 2017, he’s hoping for a different outcome.
Baker leaves behind a wife and two children. A memorial service will be held for him Feb. 26 at the Great Falls Civic Center.
***Thank you everyone for your outpouring of support and love.*** It is with broken hearts that we announce today that...Posted by Montana State Council of Professional Fire Fighters on Wednesday, February 20, 2019