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Posted: Sep 01, 2014 4:09 AMUpdated: Sep 01, 2014 4:09 AM

Firefighter's Widow Receives Death Benefit

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The Associated Press

The widow and son of a Bartlesville man who died during firefighting training have been awarded more than $503,000 in federal and state death benefits despite testimony that the man never was really with any fire department.

     The Oklahoman reports that Thomas Russell Topping died in 2008 after registering at a state training facility as a volunteer for the Barnsdall fire department. But Barnsdall's fire chief, Pete O'Dell, testified in workers' comp court that Topping wasn't actually a volunteer.

     The court said Topping was a firefighter based on a letter of recommendation O'Dell wrote. But O'Dell told the court none of it was true.

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