Layout of the Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge relay race.
The disability retirement of a former Haverhill firefighter is under review after the man participated in last month’s Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge, described by ESPN as “the toughest two minutes in sports.”
Paul Weinburgh participated in the Over 50 Tandem relay race Saturday, July 16, in downtown Haverhill, according to official results posted by Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge. The state’s Public Employee Retirement Administration Commission (PERAC) confirmed Wednesday it had received a complaint about Weinburgh’s participation, but agency policies prevent it from divulging details.
“It is not our practice to discuss the source of referrals that we receive nor the action that we may undertake in response,” said John Parsons, PERAC general counsel. He said Weinburgh retired in 2012 as a result of injuries he received on the job. It is classified as an Accidental Disability Retirement pension.
According to Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge, “The challenge seeks to encourage firefighter fitness and demonstrate the profession’s rigors to the public.” During the tandem relay, Weinburgh would have participated in a divided course where each competitor must complete one of the parts. At the transition point, competitors are expected to use the Keiser Force Machine, a simulated “forcible entry-chopping device,” according to the manufacturer. “It provides an efficient and durable means of training or testing individuals such as firefighters who use axes and sledgehammers in their occupation,” the company reports.
While he could not address the specifics of Weinburgh’s case, Parsons detailed PERAC’s authority.
“Whereas disability retirees under our purview are subject to both medical and financial oversight, both these areas could be pursued, depending on the nature of the allegation. In the case of a referral questioning a disability retiree’s medical fitness, steps could include a review/request of recent medical documentation, a physical reexamination, etc.,” Parsons said.
The city of Haverhill has been asked to compile video of the event, as captured by public cameras. The challenge took place in front of the Haverhill Police Station, 40 Bailey Boulevard.
Attempts to reach Weinburgh were not successful.