NJ firefighters suing fire truck, siren makers over hearing loss

Thirty-four firefighters claim they suffered permanent hearing loss; each firefighter is seeking $150,000 in damages

NEWARK, N.J. — A lawsuit filed on behalf of 34 firefighters alleging they suffered permanent hearing injuries from sirens on fire vehicles has moved from state Superior Court to federal court.

NorthJersey.com reported that the active and inactive firefighters include employees from eight New Jersey towns. They filed claims against siren manufacturer Federal Signal Corp. and vehicle and apparatus makers American LaFrance, Kovatch Mobile Equipment, Mack Trucks, Pierce Manufacturing and Seagrave Fire Apparatus.

Officials said about 4,400 firefighter hearing-loss cases are pending nationwide.

"The sirens at issue emit intense noise levels, which, over time, are capable of causing permanent injury to human hearing," according to the lawsuit.

According to NJ.com, the manufacturers failed to test and develop crew cabs or install after-market modifications that would allow for safe sound levels. The suit also alleges Federal Signal Corp. knew the sirens were "inherently dangerous" to a human’s hearing and failed to develop a safe product.

Each firefighter is seeking $150,000 in damages.

American LaFrance was shutdown by its parent company Patriarch Partners in January 2014.

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