Rural Metro firefighter left unable to work or afford surgery

Posted: Updated:

AVONDALE, Ariz. -- A former Rural Metro firefighter is fighting to regain his health and his job.

Aaron Chamney, 47, was a captain in the department when he lost his job after a series of maladies.

Chamney contracted West Nile Virus, pneumonia, and Valley Fever within a 6-month period in 2010.

Coughing brought on by the diseases caused a minor rib fracture. Still, Chamney recovered and wanted to return to work. During a physical fitness test, the rib snapped.

Chamney said the situation left him unable to return to work. His workman's compensation claim was denied.  

He said his injury was considered a 'pre-existing condition,' since the rib's minor fracture occurred outside of his firefighting duties.

Rural Metro terminated Chamney's employment, and without insurance, he is unable to afford the surgery.

"My rib ends are constantly rubbing, and poking the lung tissue.  It's constant pain," Chamney told 3TV.

"Honestly, it was a punch to the gut," Chamney says of his termination, after 17-years with Rural Metro. "I want to get back in the business."

Fellow firefighters have launched a fundraising campaign to help Chamney afford the surgery, which would allow him to return to work.

"It's been the perfect storm of misfortune," said Don Lindquist, a fellow Rural Metro firefighter. "We'd like to get this firefighter back on his feet."

The surgery is expected to cost upwards of $100,000.

Donation site:
Facebook Page: