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On-duty death benefits denied to firefighters, EMTs

Bill Dedman of reports that more than three years after President Bush signed the Hometown Heroes Act of 2003, no benefits have been paid to families. The act promises federal benefits to the families of firefighters and EMTs who die of heart attacks or strokes on the job. "The U.S. Justice Department has denied all 34 claims that have been decided and has yet to act on more than 200 others, has learned." Included is one widow's story of trying to collect the promised benefits. A Harvard study released March 22 states that the risk of heart attacks for firefighters on the scene are "up to 100 times the normal rate."

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