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Portion of I-271 renamed for fire captain who helped change cancer benefits for firefighters

Posted at 9:04 PM, Apr 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-03 08:03:57-04

A portion of I-271 has been renamed in honor of a fallen firefighter who lost his battle to brain cancer last year and who pushed for legislative changes to provide special worker's compensation benefits to firefighters battling certain types of cancer.

"Captain Michael Palumbo Memorial Highway" is the new name for the stretch of I-271 between markers 28 and 32. Palumbo was a Beachwood firefighter.

The legislation he pushed for was adopted by the state of Ohio after a decade-long fight and named the Micahel Louis Palumbo Jr. Act.

RELATED Beachwood fire captain who helped change how OH law treats firefighters with cancer has passed away

In an original investigation, News 5 found Ohio was one of just 16 states that failed to recognize the link between fighting fires and cancer. After the story aired, Ohio lawmakers passed the proposal to assist firefighters battling cancer by offering workers' compensation and survivor benefits for their dependents.

However, in January, one year after Ohio Governor John Kosich signed the Michael Louis Palumbo Jr. Act into law, a spokesperson for the Ohio Association of Profession Fire Fighters said several municipalities still fail to understand the connection between cancer and fighting fires.

RELATED One year later, OH firefighters still fighting for cancer benefits in spite of new law

Palumbo was a Cleveland native and served as captain, SWAT medic, a part of the hazmat team and was a member of the honor guard. He died May 24, 2017 after a long battle with a very aggressive form of occupational brain cancer. He left behind his wife of 23 years and five children.