A small city in upstate New York has been under a cloud of controversy after denying fire chief, Russell Brooks, the benefits he needs for cancer treatments. His illness was the result of working recovery efforts at Ground Zero. Some are speculating the move is political retribution for the chief’s son’s pending lawsuit against the city.
Perhaps this is what the city’s former mayor meant when he once declared the city “a stinking, rotten town.”
According to local media reports, the story goes like this: Brooks, a 40-year career firefighter and United States Marine Corps veteran, has served as chief of the Utica Fire Department (UFD) in upstate New York for the past 13 years.
As part of his job duties, Brooks and a contingent from the fire department traveled to Manhattan in the days after 9/11, spending a week assisting with rescue and recovery efforts. They brought equipment and gear with them from the UFD.
The result, according to Brooks, is that he’s been battling cancer for several years after inhaling toxic fumes and handling dangerous materials at Ground Zero.