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Beachwood firefighter who fought for state benefits for fellow fire fighters laid to rest Saturday

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Posted at 6:09 PM, Jun 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-04 16:08:17-04

Hundreds of people, including firefighters from all over, gathered at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Willoughby Saturday.

They came to pay their respects to former Beachwood firefighter Michael Palumbo.

“The outpouring of love for the Palumbo family is a testament to him,” said Palumbo’s friend Bill Mastroianni.

Palumbo, who inspired the Michael Louis Palumbo Junior act, died from occupational brain cancer.

The Palumbo Act became law this year.

It allows firefighters who are disabled by cancer, to get benefits from the state.

The Palumbo law essentially classifies cancer as an occupational disease for firefighters.

“A lot of people knew Michael. A lot of people loved Michael, but there are people who didn’t know Michael, didn’t know about the law. They’re here because he’s a fellow firefighter and that’s what the brotherhood is all about. Michael is a hero, said Mastroianni.

By profiling Palumbo's story, News 5's investigative reporter, Sarah Buduson was also instrumental in getting the law passed.

Palumbo blamed battling fires on his cancer.

“Michael was a pioneer and the poster child for Senate Bill 27, which is presumptive cancer in the fire service. It allows firefighters to claim worker’s compensation for occupational cancers for risk of the job,” Mastroianni said.

Palumbo leaves behind a wife of 23 years and five children.