Fearing Mesothelioma and Other Illnesses, San Diego Firefighters Sue

Following revelations that the city of San Diego had put them at risk for mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases, hundreds of firefighters and other fire department employees have filed a negligence claim holding the city responsible for their potential medical damages. The issue was raised after an investigation showed that the city had known that its Fire Training Academy was heavily contaminated with asbestos, yet they’d allowed the first responders to put themselves at tremendous health risk without providing them any warning at all.

City knew of asbestos exposure but kept it quiet

A representative for the affected group spoke about the toxic materials that the firefighters worked with, and the risk of mesothelioma and other illnesses, saying,“The city took its workers, the people who serve the public, and put them in harm’s way, knowing there was asbestos exposure.” The lawsuit cites the use of a downtown office building located at 1010 Second Avenue which they say the city knew was contaminated with asbestos and other toxic materials. It goes on to say that the exposure grew as renovations on the building began, and even as employees began to complain of feeling sick, no efforts were made to protect them or move them to another location. “Shortly after construction began, city employees began to experience the effects of various air quality problems with the building’s construction, including a dramatic decline in air quality and widespread dust throughout their work areas,” the complaint said.

Asbestos is a known carcinogen associated with malignant mesothelioma, asbestosis, and asbestos-related lung cancer. It can also lead to COPD and other lung problems. The material not only added strength and insulation but was also easily available and inexpensive, so it was widely used in the construction of structures of all types during the 20th century until its dangers became known. After that, its use was curtailed and rules were put in place regarding its removal and protecting people from inhaling or ingesting its microscopic fibers, which easily become airborne when they are disturbed. The lawsuit claims that with the renovations going on around them, employees began to inhale the toxic material and experienced significant symptoms leading to “serious, genuine and reasonable fear of toxin-related cancer and associated respiratory conditions.” Despite this, the city chose not to move their employees or even reveal the cause of the employees’ discomfort. The suit claims that they put budgetary concerns ahead of protecting their employees’ health and safety, and did not move them until measurable amounts of asbestos were detected, and in doing so they moved firefighters to another building that they also knew was asbestos-contaminated, the old Naval Training Center.

Being exposed to asbestos can lead to tremendous health problems, including mesothelioma, asbestosis, and other serious illnesses. If you have suffered as a result of asbestos exposure, the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net can point you to the resources you need. Contact us today at 1-800-692-8608.

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer is the head writer of our Mesothelioma.net news blog. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Terri believes that knowledge is power and she is committed to sharing news about the impact of mesothelioma, the latest research and medical breakthroughs, and victims’ stories.

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