WCB accepts late Winnipeg firefighter’s claim, union memo says

Firefighters and other first responders gather in front of the Manitoba legislature April 22. Sam Brownell / Global News

The Workers Compensation Board (WCB) has accepted a claim associated with a Winnipeg firefighter who took his own life in April, Global News has learned.

The update was shared in a memo sent to United Fire Fighters of Winnipeg members that was obtained by 680 CJOB.

According to the memo, the WCB acknowledged that the effects of Preston Heinbigner’s exposures on the job as a firefighter led directly to his death — and that mental health injuries can have the same impact as physical ones in the workplace.

Heinbigner, 40, will be honoured on Sept. 28 at the Manitoba Fallen Firefighter Memorial and at an international memorial in Colorado next year.

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At a gathering outside the Manitoba legislature in April, Premier Wab Kinew announced that the provincial government is dedicating three counsellors to provide mental health supports specifically for local firefighters, paramedics and law enforcement.

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Click to play video: 'First responders gather at Manitoba legislature to honour late firefighter'
First responders gather at Manitoba legislature to honour late firefighter

If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, resources are available. In case of an emergency, please call 911 for immediate help.

For immediate mental health support, call 988. For a directory of support services in your area, visit the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention at

Learn more about preventing suicide with these warning signs and tips on how to help.

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