The city of Houston is battling the family of a deceased firefighter who died of cancer, which officials and her own fire department chief said was a direct result of her line of work. However, the city claims Margaret Roberts’ condition was due to her race and weight and her husband is fighting to have her pension benefits released to him and their children.
Local outlet ABC13.com reports:
Roberts loved being a Houston firefighter. She did it for more than 21 years until her cancer-ravaged body simply couldn’t do it anymore.
“I had to sit there for almost five years and watch her die daily,” Margaret’s husband, Daniel Roberts, said.
After a long fight with multiple myeloma, Margaret died in January 2017.
Three months after her death, Houston Fire Department Chief Sam Pena wrote a letter to the state pension system swearing, “Her death was a result of an illness sustained in the line of duty.”
In a letter to the 100 Club after that, Pena again wrote that Roberts’ passing was “Declared a Line of Duty Death.”
The outlet adds in its reporting that Roberts lost the case for her pension benefits while she was still alive but her husband has reponed the claim with Houston officials citing Roberts family history and other factors instead of examining the possibility her cancer was the result of the exposure to harmful fumes and the dangerous nature of her work.