• Attleboro firefighters say city isn't doing enough to protect them

    By: Blair Miller

    Updated:

    ATTLEBORO, Mass. - From battling fires to battling the mayor, firefighters in Attleboro say enough is enough. 

    At the Attleboro Fire Department, some a frustrated over what the city hasn't done to help them battle the cancer issue

    "There's not a better word that we can use. This is an urgent matter that needs to be addressed yesterday," said Paul Jacques. 

    Urgent. Says Attleboro Firefighter Paul Jacques whose grandfather died from cancer years after being a firefighter in Rhode Island. 

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    In Attleboro, Jacques and some city council members are calling for the city to buy two extractors - essentially washing machines that will help rid dangerous chemicals from fires that end up on gear. They also want every firefighter to have a second set of gear, something many departments have in order to help fight the rising risk of occupational cancer. 

    "We've lost five firefighters to occupational cancer that I call friends, not to mention numerous firefighters here in Attleboro that have thankfully survived occupational cancer and are still on the job today," said Jacques. 

    The mayor of Attleboro, Paul Heroux, told Boston 25 News he is "addressing" the issue, saying in part:

    "City council members who are declaring a sense of urgency have never declared any sense of urgency over the last five years. The fire chief and I came up with a plan to buy (an extractor) now and one with the next round of funding."

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    While Heroux says that should happen in the summer, along with buying a second set of gear for "all" firefighters, Jacques says they've been asking for years and can't come soon enough.

    "It's at the point now that we're tired of being frustrated. We want the right thing done for our members and put those measures in place so we can prevent us from getting cancer, so we can do our job properly and protect the citizens of Attleboro," said Jacques. 

    The extractors cost $22,000. The mayor plans to purchase the second one in mid-June or July. 

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