Leaders pushing for database to track firefighters diagnosed with cancer

Leaders in Washington are now taking action after our Boston 25 News report on Boston firefighters being diagnosed with cancer.

These leaders want to create a database that tracks firefighters who are diagnosed with cancer and track those who die from it.

Boston 25 News anchor Blair Miller sat down with Senator Elizabeth Warren in her Cambridge home. She recently saw Boston's Bravest and our extensive reporting on firefighters who are dying from cancer, many here in Boston.

>> Boston's Bravest: Facing a Hidden Killer

It's an issue that Sen. Warren now realizes is happening too often, yet not getting enough attention.

"I want everyone to know about this problem -- not just firefighter families, but all of us," said Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D) Massachusetts.

She told Miller she's now helping to fast track a bill in the U.S. Senate that would create a registry at the Centers For Disease Control that would track cases of firefighters with occupational cancer.

"I'm hopeful that by gathering that information, that will be the first step in changing the federal government's response and offering more help to our firefighters," said Warren. "I am very hopeful that we're gonna get this thing pushed forward and get it pushed forward soon."

MORE: Boston firefighter learns he is cancer-free

‪Update on Boston’s Bravest: Today I sat down w/ U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren at her home. She is now trying to fast...

Posted by Blair Miller on Friday, April 27, 2018

Miller asked Warren realistically, how soon she thought it could be resolved.

"Realistically, we could get our part done in the Senate over the next few months," said Warren.

Boston 25 News spent months looking into the issue and found no complete list or database in Massachusetts to show just how many firefighters have been diagnosed with occupational cancer - or even how many people have died from it.

It's something many in the fire service have been calling for.

MORE: Milford Firefighters hope local leaders will help those diagnosed with cancer

While Warren expects it to eventually pass; what it reveals could lead to so much more.

"It's what we don't know that is so dangerous. We don't know what the firefighters have been exposed to and as a result no one's been tracking what the outcomes are for the firefighters," said Warren.

Senator Warren told Miller that money isn't the issue. In fact, she believes it would cost very little for the CDC to start tracking this at every fire department across the country.