Thursday, June 20, 2019

Andy Mullen

Anchorage Fire Department

October 11, 2010

After nearly 14 years on the job, Andy Mullen worked his last shift at the Anchorage Fire Department on April 18, 2010 at Rescue 4. Andy was diagnosed with cancer that was determined to have been directly linked to exposure on the job while carrying out his duties as a Firefighter.

Thirteen years after the exposure to thick, black smoke from burning wires, it was determined his cancer was caused by his work, entitling his widow, 19 year old daughter, and 10 year old twin daughter’s benefits. This was the first test of Alaska’s 2 year old “firefighter presumption” law, which says firefighters are eligible for workers compensation benefits if they develop certain types of cancer after documented exposure to known carcinogens while on the job.

It was a seemingly routine call just three months into Mullen’s nearly 14 year career that eventually killed him; a brush fire near Ship Creek one morning in May 1997. Thirteen years later, in April 2010, Mullen went to a doctor complaining of blurred vision. When glasses failed to help, further testing revealed a brain tumor, which was traced back to renal cancer in Mullen’s kidneys caused by the coating on the electrical wires during the fire. Andy’s survivor benefits were approved just 12 days before he died.

Andy was a devoted father in every sense of the word, he was a best friend, mentor, companion, and protector to his daughters, spending every possible moment with them, going camping, swimming, hiking, and seeking new adventures. All who knew and loved him agree that he was born to be a dad and was the best father a child could ever hope for.

In his fight against cancer, Andy showed an unquenchable spirit. Even as Andy’s health declined, his email updates were upbeat and classic. He never gave up. His last email posted September 23, ended; “As I write this the sun shines through my windows, I have a cup of coffee, and the radio is playing some of my favorite songs. I doing OK. Andy.”

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