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Bow volunteer firefighter out of work after accident

On a blustery night last week, the Dunbarton fire department called on Bow to help extinguish a blaze that had overtaken a two-story home. First, they asked for an engine, then a water tanker.

That’s when Bow resident and on-call firefighter Bob Purcell, 61, drove a town tanker up the private drive to the scene, got out to figure out where to park and slipped on the ice.

“It was a fluke,” Purcell said earlier this week. He has been working on-call for the department for 21 years. “I was just walking around to see where to maneuver my truck and my feet just flew out.”

That fluke left Purcell’s shoulder immobile and possibly in need of surgery. A self-employed plumber by trade, the injury will keep him from working over the next few months, he said.

“I’ve got to tell all the work I got that I can’t work,” he said.

Purcell is one of the station’s roughly 35 on-call firefighters, Harrington said. Many fire departments across the state similarly rely on volunteers or part-time, on-call responders. Under state law, those employees are covered by workers’ compensation.

“They are treated just as (full-duty) firefighters are,” said Kathryn Barger, Director of the Workers’ Compensation Division at the state Department of Labor. “They are doing public service and for no pay, or for low pay or volunteer . . . (it) makes sure they are protected under the law.”

The compensation is derived by a formula, and any claim would be handled by Bow and its insurance company.

(Allie Morris can be reached at 369-3307 or at amorris@cmonitor.com.)

Legacy Comments7

Well Itsa, it definitely will be much harder to retire when Paul Ryan's budget kicks in and Social Security benefits are cut and Medicare becomes a voucher program. Hope you have a good pension or 401 to retire on and you will have to pay your own healthcare costs.

The amount of compensation through workers compensation will pale in comparison to what he makes by working. Sadly, this wonderful volunteer hero will be eligible for food stamps should he be forced to retire on a disability. In NH, getting injured in the line of duty so severely you must retire equates to a life of substandard pay. Between the State Pension and workers Comp an injured Fireman or Policeman will earn less than half of what he would have earned by working. Injured and disabled public safety workers are the forgotten. Give your 100%, get injured and disabled and watch your life and your family go down the tubes.

Not sure of your point here hope555. At 61 I would think this person was close to retirement and most people live on less than 50% of their work earnings in retirement. Of course it will certainly be hard in NH as his state/city taxes due will not drop by even $1. He will probably be paying 30% or greater of his meager retirement income for property taxes.

Well, good point but who retires at 61. I will turn 60 this year and I feel like I am 40, I plan to work for at least 10 more years and probably as long as an employer will have me. Few people are going to be able to financially support themselves if they stop working at 65 in this Obama economic disaster.

Just for clarification as some don't want to remember - the economic disaster occurred under George BUSH. You can try to blame the slow recovery on Obama but one can not change the past...... AS for me and retirement, I plan on doing a few things before I can't.

and for further clarification...the BUSH admin repeatedly warned congress to greatly oversee GSE's or risk financial collapse...Barney Frank said....oh no..no possibility of that...and all those votes wend down on party lines. The BUSH admin should have used the "pen and the phone" and by executive order done what the democrats did not want to do...thats the BUSH failure.

OK, I might agree with that to a point. It is the Obama policies, ideology and agenda that is holding us back. This economy should have recovered long ago but Obama is putting us in the hole, week after week. Things like Obamacare are stifling jobs and the economy. Companies won't invest as long as Obama is in office. It will be at least 3 more years. It is a shame as Obama wastes our time on this Earth to feed his ego.

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