Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of Michael Marchese v. City of Williamsport, Claim Petition No. 191-26-4144.
William S. Kieser, with him Ertel & Kieser, for appellants.
Thomas S. Quinn, with him James Diefenderfer, for appellees.
Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer and Rogers, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Rogers.
[ 13 Pa. Commw. Page 146]
Michael Marchese (claimant) was employed by the City of Williamsport (employer) as a fireman.
In April, 1971, the claimant consulted a physician because of a pain in his back and thighs. X-rays were taken which proved negative. The doctor diagnosed the claimant's ailment as an acute low back strain or a lumbosacral strain and provided one day's therapy.
On December 14, 1971, while fighting a fire, the claimant and a co-worker were required to carry a dresser containing clothing from the second to the ground floor of a burning dwelling house. The claimant was thereafter directed to uncouple and place a fire hose on the fire truck.
On December 14, 1971, the claimant experienced acute back pain, was admitted to a hospital and on January 25, 1972, operated upon for a ruptured intervertebral disc.
On April 11, 1972, the claimant filed his claim petition for workmen's compensation in which he alleged that on December 14, 1971, an accident occurred "while fighting a fire while carrying out a piece of furniture, it started to slip and in attempting to catch it I twisted my back."
[ 13 Pa. Commw. Page 147]
At the hearing before the referee conducted in late September, 1972, the claimant and the co-worker testified that as the claimant was assisting in carrying the dresser the co-worker slipped, causing the dresser to be thrust against the claimant. The claimant testified that he felt a sharp pain at this time and that the pain recurred as he was later stowing the hose.
A claims representative of the employer's workmen's compensation carrier produced a tape of an interview with the claimant conducted on January 17, 1972. A transcription of this tape went into evidence without objection. The following questioning of the claimant occurred at this interview: "Q. Now you mention at the time of fighting fire you moved a chest of drawers full of clothes, out with help of another man? Was this from first or second floor? A. The second floor was right outside to the sidewalk from second floor. Q. What portion of the chest of drawers did you have when you were moving it, the lower side or upper side? A. Coming down I was coming down I would have the weight towards me. Q. In other words did anything happen at that time, you might have slipped or something on steps, you don't remember anything? A. Nope. I had my mask on, my helmet, tank, my boots, my coat, my gloves. . . . Q. It wasn't until you came out and were starting to take hoses up that you noticed any pain at all, you can't remember any specific thing that might have caused it? A. Nope. Q. You were of course doing your regular job, is that correct? A. Right. Q. You don't recall and I'll ask you in a lump sum, do you recall slipping, falling, bumping or twisting ...