Poisoned firefighter files grievance after promotion denied

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A Rhode Island firefighter who has been on leave for more than a year after inhaling toxic smoke says he was unfairly passed over for a promotion, but a city official says the department cannot promote someone who will be permanently disabled.

Capt. Joe Fontaine filed a grievance against the city of Providence on April 28 after being passed over for the rank of battalion chief.

Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare said Fontaine is a hero but the city can’t promote someone to a job they’ll never be able to perform.

Fontaine, who has been a firefighter for more than 30 years, suffered cyanide poisoning in March 2016. He has applied for accidental disability. The promotion would have entitled him to an additional $18,000 as part of his severance.

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