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 firstname.lastname@example.org.)