Injured Firefighters Receive Help
Within ten minutes of arriving on the scene of the Verla Industries fire in New Windsor on November 20, 2017, eight career firefighters from the City of Newburgh Fire Department were being rushed to the hospital with serious burns and other injuries sustained when, while searching in the building for a missing employee, a second explosion left them trapped and injured, in danger of dying in the blaze.
The eight Newburgh firefighters had responded along with several other departments to help the Vails Gate Fire Department tackle the fire in the large warehouse. According to Newburgh Fire Chief Terry Ahlers the second explosion burned his men; some managed to escape the building while engulfed in flames. All eight firefighters are currently out of work and receiving Workers' Compensation payments. According to Chief Ahlers, the insurance payments do not cover many expenses and the Firefighter Burn Treatment Fund of Orange, Ulster, Sullivan and Dutchess Counties (The Fund) have stepped in to provide financial support for the three most seriously burned firefighters.
Representatives of The Fund recently met at the City of Newburgh Fire Department Headquarters to provide money to Lieutenant Mocko and firefighters Kiernan and Flippin to help pay expenses not covered. According to Chief Ahlers, the medication that is required to cover the burns destroys household bedding and the linens need to be discarded. Insurance does not cover that expense. Additionally, the firefighters have to attend numerous medical appointments to help with recovery and the need for babysitters presents itself. The cost of childcare is also not covered. The Firefighter Burn Treatment Fund of Orange, Ulster, Sullivan and Dutchess Counties has stepped in to help offset those expenses.
Ahlers, speaking of the support said "the Newburgh Fire Department appreciates the continued support from the public and area fire departments for our injured firefighters. We are especially grateful for the assistance to the three burned members provided by the Firefighters Burn Treatment Fund." Chief Ahlers told the Hudson Valley Post that he expects all eight members to return to duty as soon as they are medically cleared.