Firefighter Douglas Garnham is facing death within a year from mesothelioma cancer. But in the meantime, he’s taken a court action against the employer he claims exposed him to asbestos.
As a story in the United Kingdom news site Get Surrey indicates, the 54-year-old fireman believes he was exposed to clouds of asbestos while working for the Surrey Fire and Rescue Service in the late 1970s and early 1980s. (Surrey is a county in Southeast England.) Garnham is seeking some $466,000 (in U.S. currency) in compensation for his illness, and for the loss of the 20 years of life he otherwise would have enjoyed.
Garnham’s barrister alleged there were links between his client’s illness and exposure to asbestos as a firefighter. In a high court writ (or suit), the attorney claims that Garnham breathed in clouds of asbestos dust and fiber, causing the cancer. This will take away two decades of his life, as Get Surrey reports.
During his initial training and on refresher training Mr. Garnham would have to crawl into confined and hot spaces, often the ducts under hospital boiler houses, containing pipes lagged with asbestos, claimed his barrister.
He would crawl over and among asbestos-lagged pipes and through the asbestos dust and debris on the floors. Once the exercise was over, he would knock off the asbestos dust and fibers from his fire kit, breathing in the clouds of asbestos dust and fiber.
Get Surrey reports that only last month a fireman in Hull, a U.K. city, received a five figure asbestos settlement.
Firefighters in the United States are also at high risk of developing asbestos diseases. Asbestos is often present in many older buildings, where fires may break out. Versatile, cheap, and flame-retardant, the fibrous mineral was used extensively in building materials until about 1980, when the dangers of inhaling the material became widely known.
Have you been diagnosed with mesothelioma? Or another asbestos-caused disease? Do you believe you were exposed to asbestos at a job site? You may be entitled to financial compensation through an asbestos lawsuit. To learn more about your legal options, please Sokolove Law for a free case evaluation.