Hawaii fire department fined for not protecting firefighters from asbestos exposure

29 Mar 2018 by under News

Airport firefighters drill 100x100 Hawaii fire department fined for not protecting firefighters from asbestos exposureThe State of Hawaii has fined the Honolulu Fire Department $7,000 for not protecting firefighters from dangerous asbestos they were exposed to during a summertime fire at the Marco Polo condominiums that killed three people and destroyed dozens of units. The fire was the largest high-rise fire in the state’s history, and hundreds of Honolulu firefighters worked to contain the blaze.

is a fibrous, heat-resistant material that was used liberally in the late 20th century in fire-resistant and insulating materials. The fibers can easily be inhaled and lodge into the lining of the lungs where over a period of years or decades they can create scarring and tumors. is a known carcinogen and is linked to a deadly form of lung cancer called malignant .

Several firefighters and residents expressed concerns to local media about exposure to hazardous material during the fire, and they raised questions whether proper measures were taken to protect firefighters and others at the scene.

Following the fire, the Hawaii Firefighters Association filed a complaint about possible asbestos exposure, adding that the age of the building suggested that it might contain asbestos and other contaminants. “In this regard, we were concerned that they didn’t bag the firefighters’ personal protective equipment right after they left the scene,” said Bobby Lee, president of the Hawaii Firefighters Association.

The Hawaii Occupational Safety and Health (HIOSH) division conducted an onsite inspection and determined proper procedures weren’t followed. As a result, fire trucks and stations may also be contaminated with asbestos or other hazardous materials. The organization also issued a citation to the fire department.

Source: KHON

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