Pilots' families say Cal Fire withheld death benefits

Aug 10, 2015 11:43 AM by News Staff, Photo: MGN

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Families of contracted air tanker pilots killed in the line of duty have filed a claim seeking more than $4 million against the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

The Sacramento Bee reports the claim filed Friday alleges that Cal Fire executives knowingly withheld death benefits from the survivors for nearly a dozen years.

Under state law, Cal Fire is required to pay a one-time death benefit if a contracted pilot flying a firefighting aircraft dies on duty. An attorney representing the families says the department has failed to follow the law.

Cal Fire spokeswoman Janet Upton says the department is working with federal officials to ensure federally contracted pilots receive benefits.

The department has 45 days to respond to the claim.


Information from: The Sacramento Bee, http://www.sacbee.com

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


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