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Mission firefighter diagnosed with cancer wins long legal battle

After a long legal battle, a judge ruled in favor of Homer Salinas - a Mission firefighter denied workmen's compensation after he was diagnosed with kidney cancer.

After a long legal battle, a judge ruled in favor of Homer Salinas - a Mission firefighter denied workmen's compensation after he was diagnosed with kidney cancer.

"When I went ahead and submitted all the paperwork, the TML, which is the insurance carrier for the city, denied me," Salinas said.

The city's insurance carrier claimed that his diagnosis was unrelated to his work and refused to cover treatment costs, but Salinas appealed that decision last November and finally got the answer he'd been waiting for.

"We showed them that all the carcinogens, all the hazardous materials that I've been exposed to, all the number of calls," said Salinas. "And the judge ruled in our favor - that our risk was higher than their risk they were trying to fight."

But for Salinas and his legal team, the fight could continue.

"The city and TML can come back and appeal and they have until the end of the month to appeal," said Salinas. "It's great that he ruled in my favor, it's a good step, it's a big step, but it's not all the way through - this job isn't finished all the way through."

His time in court, Salinas says, is a small price to pay for his fellow firefighters.

"All I want to do is just come back to work, and have things go back to normal but I'm always going to keep up the fight... to help my brothers and sisters," said Salinas.

And as for Salinas' health, that too, comes with good news.

"I came back to work, and I love it. I'm in remission now and I only go back for check-ups and right now we're just going to take it one day at a time," said Salinas.

It remains unknown whether or not there will be an appeal on the court's ruling. All that's left to do for Salinas is wait and see.

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