Study: Cancer is 'significant risk' among firefighters
Researchers found high instances of cancers of the respiratory and digestive systems and brain cancer
CBS San Francisco
LIVERMORE, Calif. — Firefighters are a tight-knit family, and when they lose one of their own, they come together for support and comfort. That is what happened in Livermore and Pleasanton this month, when a 48-year old firefighter died from what has become an all too common work-related illness.
All firefighters ride into danger every day. Ben Plake, a 27 year veteran of the Livermore Pleasanton Fire Department, knows the risk. “You go do what you are trained and paid to do,” he said.
Flames and smoke are the obvious threats. But another more silent killer, cancer, just took the life of Ben’s firefighting partner of 17 years, Captain Paul Chenkovich. “It’s hard to explain unless you are doing the job but it just puts a bond with all of us over the years,” Plake told KPIX 5.