Former Liberty Township Firefighter/Paramedic Darrel Wasmer, who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2016 and was recently diagnosed with amyloidosis, passed away Monday, Nov. 5.
Scott Simmons, president of International Association of Fire Fighters Local 3754, issued a statement on Wasmer’s passing.
“The Liberty Township Professional Fire Fighters are mourning the loss of Firefighter/Paramedic Darrel L. Wasmer. Brother Wasmer lost his battle to occupational cancer. …Darrel was a charter member of IAFF Local 3754 and served the Liberty Township Fire Department for over 24 years. Darrel had a passion for serving those in need. His smile, laughter, and his selfless service will be missed by all.”
Simmons also stated, “We do not have funeral arrangements at this time. Please keep Darrel’s family and the Liberty Township Professional Fire Fighters in your thoughts and prayers.”
In an earlier report, Doug Stern, a spokesman with the Ohio Association of Professional Fire Fighters, said in a nutshell, firefighters have a greater exposure to carcinogens due to battling fires.
“Firefighters are 51 percent more likely to contract non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma than the general population,” he said, “I think it’s important to note that his cancer started as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, but metastasized to amyloidosis.”
In a phone interview Tuesday, Stern said firefighters/paramedics want to go out with their boots on, saving lives.
“Wasmer died essentially with his boots off,” he said. “It is a direct result of years of him working as a firefighter.”
According to court documents, Wasmer had applied to the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation in June 2017, but the claim was denied in July 2017. He then filed four different appeals with the Ohio Industrial Commission before it vacated the BWC decision that Wasmer’s cancer wasn’t work related.
“All medical bills related to the allowed condition shall be paid in accordance with Industrial Commission and Bureau of Workers’ Compensation rules and regulations,” stated the commission’s final decision.
However, the Liberty Township Board of Trustees appealed the Industrial Commission’s decision, which stopped payment of the medical bills. Wasmer passed away before the commission could make a decision on the township’s appeal.
“When a claimant dies before a final decision is made, the claim is abated and the family has a right to file a separate claim for death benefits,” said Tony Gottschlich, a media spokesperson for the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.
Liberty Township Firefighter/Paramedic Mickey Smith said union members are taking up a collection for Wasmer’s family to give to his wife on Friday, Nov. 9. He said Wasmer’s family currently “has nothing coming in.”
Smith added if the community would like to donate to Wasmer’s family, checks can be made out to Local 3754. All donations will need to be dropped off at Fire Station 321, 7761 Liberty Road, Powell, before Friday, Nov. 9.
Liberty Township officials could not be reached for comment.
Contact D. Anthony Botkin at 740-413-0902. Follow him on Twitter @dabotkin.