AUSTIN, Texas - The death benefits for the family of an Austin firefighter who died in December may be in jeopardy. The City of Austin said a hearing is coming up in July to discuss the amount of money the family of Travis Maher will continue to receive, if any.
Battalion Chief Travis Maher was a 23-year-old veteran of the Austin Fire Department and a long-standing member of Texas A&M Task Force One.
During the aftermath of 9/11, Maher was one of ten firefighters sent from Austin to search for victims. He fought fires but eventually fought stomach cancer, likely a result of 9/11.
"We have the hazards of immediate dangers, but also the long-term hazards. Travis, while there are many factors, there's no doubt that the occupational hazards that come with firefighting and disaster response was a part of it," Austin Fire Department Assistant Chief Brandon Wade said.
At the age of 49, Maher died.
"He was giving to the state’s response and the nation's response and always tried to make a difference in people's lives," Assistant Chief Wade said.
The federal gfovernment provides compensation to families whose loved one’s death was related to the 9/11 attacks through the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. The City of Austin also provides medical and dental coverage for dependents of firefighters killed in the line of duty.
"Any time somebody dies in the line of duty death, the city of Austin needs to be able to provide as much benefit as they are legally able to do," City councilwoman Mackenzie Kelly said.
AFD Battalion Chief Travis Maher died at the age of 49.
The City of Austin said the family of Maher is receiving benefits.
"I was told that by our HR department, his family is currently receiving a line of duty death benefit from the 9-11 fund, currently the city is paying out the death benefit," Council member Kelly said.
But maybe not for long. A hearing is coming up in July.
"It will be determined what, if any amount they received from the city in addition to that 9/11 survivor benefit," Council member Kelly said.
Councilwoman Kelly said she’ll be advocating on behalf of the family to ensure they continue to receive benefits.