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Thread: Fire Truck Danger - Union says WTC dust on rigs a health risk

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    Registered User SeaBreeze's Avatar
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    Fire Truck Danger - Union says WTC dust on rigs a health risk

    Fire Truck Danger
    Union says WTC dust on rigs a health risk

    By GREG GITTRICH
    Daily News Staff Writer

    Hundreds of fire trucks that responded to the World Trade Center attacks remain contaminated with potentially toxic dust, posing health risks to firefighters, union officials charge.

    Although the Fire Department has examined the 200 surviving rigs that were at Ground Zero on Sept. 11, only four were professionally decontaminated, FDNY officials acknowledged. The rest were deemed safe and sent back on the streets.

    In contrast, the Environmental Protection Agency has ordered the destruction of 890 cars laced with asbestos from the twin towers.

    The fire trucks, being used daily on emergency runs, have been scrubbed and appear almost spotless from a distance.

    A closer look reveals that many of the rigs' engines, electrical wiring and air-conditioning systems are coated in dust, firefighters said.

    "Our rig was parked on West St. right in front of the financial buildings and survived," said a Manhattan firefighter, who asked not to be named. "Every time we go on a run, it blows dust in our faces. It's not safe."

    Union officials are adamant that all of the 500 or so fire vehicles used at Ground Zero

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    Union Asks Better Cleaning of Fire Trucks

    Union Asks Better Cleaning of Fire Trucks

    By KEVIN FLYNN


    Officials of the union that represents New York City firefighters said yesterday that the Fire Department has done an inadequate job of cleaning trucks that might have been exposed to toxic substances when the World Trade Center collapsed.

    Five of the 200 fire trucks that were present when the buildings fell have tested positive for the presence of asbestos and either have, or will be, decontaminated, fire officials said.

    But the union, the Uniformed Firefighters Association, said that it did not believe the testing went far enough to detect the presence of contaminants and urged the department to decontaminate the remaining vehicles, which are being used again. The union said its concern grew yesterday when it learned that federal environmental officials had decided to destroy hundreds of private vehicles recovered at ground zero because of high asbestos levels.

    "We have a lot of guys with respiratory problems and they are riding around with all kinds of dust in the rigs," said Thomas Manley, the union's sergeant-at-arms and health and safety liaison. "There is no doubt that some of it's asbestos."

    Fire officials disputed the union's position, saying that an independent consultant had thoroughly tested the air quality in each of the trucks and had determined that no safety hazards existed.

    The trucks that did not need decontamination have been cleaned, fire officials said, and the department is seeking additional federal money to cover additional cleaning. But full-scale decontamination is not required, they said.



    http://www.nytimes.com/2002/05/15/nyregion/15TRUC.html

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