Protest planned at state police and fire pension office | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Protest planned at state police and fire pension office

Posted By on Thu, Sep 6, 2012 at 6:48 AM

If you note a little commotion in the 600 block of West Third Street this morning, here's the explanation in advance: A former Fayetteville Springdale firefighter is protesting his inability to get disability payments for cancer he says is linked to his job. He and supporters will be outside the offices of the state Local Police and Fire Retirement System.

The summary follows:

LOPFI or DIE/ Fire and Brimstone

I was a fire fighter for twenty four and one half years. In 2009, I was diagnosed with incurable adenocarcinoma of the colon/rectal area that had metastasized to the liver. I have had multiple operations and have under gone radiation and chemo-therapy. I have been declared in remission three separate times and the cancer has come back each time. I have been treated at MD Anderson, UAMS and Mayo Clinic Rochester along with my local clinic, Highlands Oncology Clinic here in Fayetteville. Doctors have said that this cancer was caused by my constant exposures from the job of fire fighting and constant exposure to diesel fumes from an unventilated fire house. I applied for a line of duty disability in June of 2011. As of this date my claim has neither been approved or denied by the administration of LOPFI. By doing this we cannot pursue due process and appeal the decision if it is denied. I ran out of benefit time in August of 2011 and employment with the city of Springdale was terminated with the understanding that retirement pay was coming in a timely manner. I have gone one year and one month with no income. The director of LOPFI has continued to insist that I provide more documentation to them before a decision could be made, I have provided them all medical records from all health care facilities where I was treated. I have provided them with multiple letters from physicians that state that this cancer was caused by my employment as a fire fighter, and a letter from the Veterans Affairs Hospital Fayetteville, that states that this was not caused by my service of 18 years, as a Hospital Corpsman, assigned to the Fleet Marine Force, USMC. I also have given them a letter from an epidemiologist from Johns Hopkins that states that this cancer was caused by the afore mentioned exposures. However, LOPFI still insists that I need to provide them with more documentation. I have been forced to hire an attorney who has repeatedly informed LOPFI that we have no further documentation to give to them. I am ashamed that the promises that were given to me at the beginning of my employment as a fire fighter of being taking care of if I was ever injured in the line of duty have been ignored.

This will be a public protest of how LOPFI, Local Police and Fire Retirement System, handles or does not handle claims. It will be held on September 6, 2012, from approximately 8:30 to 11:00 am. It will be in front of the LOPFI office located at 620 W. Third Street, Little Rock, AR. We will also be honoring all of the fallen heroes of 9/11. We hope that all media outlets will attend.

Bud Planchon

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