Statistically speaking, being a firefighter isn’t considered one of the most hazardous jobs in the country. According to the latest numbers released by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics and reported by Forbes, deaths per 100,000 full-time firefighters in 2012 were so few that firefighting didn’t even make it into the top 10 most dangerous. It’s riskier to be in construction or roofing than to be on the front line of a blaze.

But that doesn’t mean that firefighting is without its risks. The reality is that the typical conditions in which these men and women work tend to be more treacherous than most. Accidents can happen without a hint of warning. When they do, the last thing that a victim should have to deal with is belabored battle over workers’ compensation benefits. An attorney familiar with how the system works can be big help.

News out of a town northwest of Philadelphia offers a good example of how unexpectedly a fiery tragedy can strike. It involves a fire that erupted at a firehouse in Mahanoy City.

The place was all set to host a gathering of crews from around the region when one of the trucks parked in the station caught fire. The state police fire marshal’s office says it broke out in the cab of the truck, but the cause has yet to be determined.

Fire crews from Mahanoy City and other communities responded, but they weren’t able to douse the fire before it had destroyed the aerial lift truck and caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage to the vehicle and may have left the 1887 building a total loss.

Worst of all is that two firefighters were hurt while trying to battle the fire. One suffered smoke inhalation and another suffered bruising. Fortunately, they didn’t require hospitalization, but it’s not clear whether their injuries were significant enough to require them to take time off and face possible loss of wages. It they were, then pursuing workers’ compensation might be wise.

Source: Firehouse.com, “Blaze Destroys Pennsylvania Firehouse, Ladder Truck,” Frank Andru Scavage and Stephen J. Pytak, Republican & Herald, Aug. 25, 2013