SEATTLE (AP) — An injured Washington state firefighter has filed a $100 million civil claim, but must first fight a law prohibiting him from collecting damages.
The Seattle Times reports that 29-year-old Daniel Lyon Jr. filed the claim against the Okanogan County Electric Cooperative, but a doctrine established in the state prevents first responders from suing.
State Department of Natural Resources investigators say the 2015 Twisp River fire was caused by an uninsulated power line in a fire zone owned by the company.
A company attorney says people who start fires could be afraid to call authorities if an injured first responder was able to sue them.
Lyon’s attorneys say the doctrine violates the state constitution that provides equal protection under the law. An Okanogan County Superior Court judge dismissed Lyon’s case last year without a trial but his attorney in July filed a brief with the state Court of Appeals.
Monday marks four years since the Twisp River Fire, where firefighters Richard Wheeler, Andrew Zajac and Tom Zbyszewski were killed and Lyon suffered full-body burns when the crew’s vehicle was overcome with flames while attempting to escape the blaze.
Lyon has undergone more than a dozen surgeries and continues to receive treatment.