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A firefighter who passed away four years ago after contracting HIV on the job is just now being recognized for having died in the line of duty.

At a ceremony on Sunday, former colleagues of Doug Waller presented his widow Sharon and their two sons with a medallion from the International Association of Firefighters' Fallen Firefighter Memorial. A plaque will hang in South King Fire and Rescue's Station 65 in his honor.

Recognition of Waller as a casualty took so long time because it had to be proven to the state of Washington that he contracted HIV on the job. It is believed Waller contracted HIV after being struck by a needle on a medical call.

A test performed immediately after the injury came up negative, and he retired from the department in 2000. He didn't test positive for HIV until 2006, two months before he died.

Because his diagnosis came years after the injury, it was outside a 60-month window that would have allowed his death to be recognized as in the line of duty.

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