All photos by Ben Nelms
First responders from across Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley lined Willingdon Avenue in Burnaby to pay their respects to senior Capt. Ken Kinney of the Burnaby Fire Department. Kinney passed away from work-related lung cancer on June 7th at the age of 56.
Kinney was a member of the Burnaby Fire Department for 28 years and was active throughout the community. He leaves behind Debbie, his wife of 28 years and their three daughters, Nicole, Kirsten and Kaitlyn.
“This is the only in-service, work-related cancer death I am aware of in my career that started in 1971,” said George Whitehurst, former assistant fire chief with the Burnaby Fire Department.
A 2015 study by the Canadian Cancer Society found firefighters have a nine per cent higher chance of getting cancer than the general public. This has been linked to toxins in smoke, soot and tar from synthetic building materials that can be inhaled or even absorbed through the skin.
The provincial government, along with the Workers Compensation Act, label 14 different cancers under presumptive disability coverage, which means if a professional or volunteer firefighter develops one of the recognized cancers, it is presumed to have been caused by their employment.