PITTSBURGH (KDKA) The union for Pittsburgh’s firefighters is calling for an inspection of a firehouse on the city’s South Side amid health concerns.
According to our news partners at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, firefighters are concerned following the cancer-related deaths of at least nine firefighters from Engine and Truck Co. 24.
Union President Joe King sent a letter to Pittsburgh Fire Chief Darryl Jones earlier this week, demanding that an inspection be done.
Chief Jones says he will meet with King about the issue.
“The majority of these firefighters were housed out of this station for 15 plus years, so they spent the majority of their careers in this station,” Ralph Sicuro, recording secretary for the Firefighters Union, said.
Company 24 is adjacent to a police and paramedics station that Sicuro says was vacated years ago because of concerns about workplace hazards like asbestos.
In a letter to Fire Chief Darryl Jones, the Firefighters Union is asking for an inspection of the South Side Firehouse.
“My hopes are to collaborate with the local, that we can come up with a plan to establish exactly what the common denominators are along with the fact that they are all coming out of the same station,” Jones said.
Firefighters have a higher rate of cancer in general. Even with investigation, it can be hard to prove cancer is work-related, especially if they aren’t all the same type.
KDKA Health Editor Dr. Maria Simbra reports nine out of nearly 2,000 firefighters who have been stationed there over the years is actually a low number in the big picture and it could just be a statistical blip – a random occurrence that one station has more cases than others.
The cost of a cancer cluster investigation depends on what information is actually available and can vary from a few hundred dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars and a direct cause may still never by found.