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Study detected carcinogens up to 100 feet away from a structure fire

A new study confirms what firefighters have feared for a while, that crews working outside of a burning building are ...

Posted: Jun 15, 2018 6:55 PM
Updated: Jun 15, 2018 6:55 PM

A new study confirms what firefighters have feared for a while, that crews working outside of a burning building are breathing in cancer-causing toxins with no protection. Now, Palm Beach County firefighters are using masks that filter out those toxins.

It's hard to believe that up until now firefighters putting up ladders, setting up fire trucks have not worn anything to protect themselves from the air around a building on fire

"We know historically speaking that there's lots of carcinogens within structure fires and we suspected that those carcinogenic gases are escaping the building and going out around the fire scene," said Battalion Chief Bob Kropa, Palm Beach County Fire Rescue.

And now it's proven. Chief Kropa started a study with the University of Miami almost two years ago. It was prompted by a spotlight on cancer rates among firefighters. Those going into the fire wear appropriate tanks and masks, but the study found the levels of harmful gases around the fire are also dangerously toxic.

"And people such as the driver operators as well as the chiefs that aren't typically in fires are still coming down with cancer too," added Chief Kropa.

Palm Beach County Fire Rescue driver and truck operator Michael McKeehan says over time, building fires have also changed and created more toxic conditions.

"There's a lot more synthetics, there's a lot more plastics that are being used when those items burn. It's actually a petroleum based product and that is a proven cancer-causing agent," said McKeehan.

The answer: using half masks with removable gas cartridges that filter out carcinogens. After one big use, the cartridges can be replaced.

"What we're hoping to see in the future, we hope to see less and less and a decrease in the cancer rate here in Palm Beach County," added McKeehan.

Chief Kropa said Miami-Dade and Jacksonville are both in the process of looking into adding the masks. He says those departments and Palm Beach County make up the top three largest in the state so he is confident other departments will soon follow in the same foot steps.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 74328

Reported Deaths: 3041
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion15860725
Lake7570275
Elkhart484384
Allen3902163
St. Joseph350081
Hamilton2763104
Vanderburgh196313
Hendricks1887108
Cass17959
Johnson1757118
Porter131639
Clark123347
Tippecanoe121111
Madison97965
LaPorte91130
Howard89065
Kosciusko85212
Bartholomew79347
Marshall78422
Floyd77946
Monroe75630
Delaware73052
Dubois69612
Boone67846
Noble67829
Hancock66038
Vigo65110
Jackson5865
Warrick58130
LaGrange55910
Shelby55327
Grant52630
Dearborn50828
Morgan47634
Clinton4343
Henry38320
Wayne37710
White36910
Montgomery35421
Lawrence34627
Harrison33823
Decatur33732
Putnam2888
Miami2742
Daviess27320
Scott26810
Greene25034
Jasper2432
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Gibson2254
Jennings22512
Steuben2103
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Perry18612
Starke1787
Orange17124
Posey1710
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Wells1682
Jefferson1632
Knox1540
Whitley1526
Washington1401
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Sullivan1261
Huntington1223
Randolph1224
Clay1215
Newton11810
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Rush804
Fountain742
Brown731
Ohio655
Blackford642
Benton610
Pike530
Switzerland520
Vermillion520
Parke511
Crawford450
Martin450
Union410
Warren221
Unassigned0206

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 100848

Reported Deaths: 3669
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin18317524
Cuyahoga13514499
Hamilton9643255
Lucas5348323
Montgomery436294
Summit3555222
Butler292963
Marion292545
Mahoning2554255
Pickaway238742
Stark1827139
Warren178939
Lorain177078
Columbiana165860
Trumbull1524106
Fairfield138732
Delaware130119
Licking128149
Clark114614
Lake111438
Wood104358
Clermont93311
Medina92335
Miami83938
Tuscarawas78214
Portage75861
Allen74044
Greene69012
Belmont62126
Mercer61213
Richland60412
Erie57527
Ashtabula56946
Geauga55644
Wayne53958
Ross4844
Huron3965
Darke39529
Ottawa38626
Hancock3783
Sandusky37716
Madison37410
Athens3571
Holmes3286
Lawrence2830
Auglaize2546
Union2511
Muskingum2361
Jefferson2292
Scioto2261
Seneca2143
Knox2057
Putnam20517
Preble2032
Washington20322
Shelby1944
Coshocton1936
Champaign1762
Crawford1745
Morrow1702
Hardin16512
Clinton1646
Highland1581
Logan1552
Fulton1481
Wyandot1468
Ashland1443
Defiance1444
Williams1353
Perry1303
Brown1292
Hocking1189
Guernsey1177
Henry1172
Fayette1130
Carroll1115
Monroe9318
Pike760
Jackson740
Van Wert711
Paulding690
Gallia651
Adams612
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Vinton312
Harrison261
Morgan260
Noble160
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