Health concerns surface after Bay Village firefighters report feeling ill while on the job

Three firefighters are off duty due to problems.

Health concerns surface after Bay Village firefighters report feeling ill while on the job

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Preliminary tests are in while more complete test results are expected any day from air samples taken at the Bay Village Fire Department.

It is a building built in 1973. It has no external devices to capture exhaust from an idling or starting engine, relying instead on filters internal to the apparatus.

It has those working there concerned.

Health concerns surface after Bay Village firefighters report feeling ill while on the job

The chemical names are impossible for anyone other than a chemist to pronounce, but their effects are easy to understand.

One that tested over the 95 percentile in a subject comes from inhalation of gasoline or exhaust fumes pointing to possible problems at the firehouse.

Another easier to pronounce is diethylphosphate, a group of chemicals considered among the most toxic substances in the world. We could go on and on, but the bottom line is nervous system damage runs throughout the list.

That’s part of the reason for going through and doing the testing, getting some good data back, and seeing if it’s safe or if there are any improvements we need to make," says Mayor Paul Koomar.

In Bay Village, three firefighters are already off duty. They were told to stay away from the building for fear of additional harm.

Firefighters union president Sam Gmetro says, so far, he’s satisfied with what’s being done, calling the city’s leaders cooperative and helpful.

But cooperation and helpfulness can only go so far. At some point, there needs to be action.

“The Chief and I are looking at some ideas for station improvements, renovations,” Mayor Koomar says in anticipation of more complete results when better determinations can be made.

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