Understandably, firefighters number among those individuals who are most at risk to be injured or even die in a fire. Firefighters in Missouri, Illinois and the rest of the nation put their lives on the line each time they rush into a fire or onto an accident scene to rescue others. While most receive extensive training in firefighter safety and utilize protective equipment, this doesn’t always save them from being injured or killed in fires or explosions. This often occurs through no fault of the firefighters’ own when unexpected hazards crop up during already intense situations.
Take the current controversy surrounding the Bridgeton Landfill, where an underground fire has been burning for the past three years, not too far from where radioactive waste is believed to rest beneath the ground in the West Lake Landfill. Reports indicate that illegal nuclear waste was dumped in that site at least four decades ago. Now, fears are mounting that the underground fire could eventually come into contact with that dangerous nuclear waste.
In addition to these logical fears, concerns have also been raised in regard to the firefighters near the landfill and that underground fire. One recent report from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health suggests that the equipment that currently keeps a watchful eye on the underground fire at the Bridgeton Landfill could very well be damaged or destroyed by the fire itself. It also states that the specific wastes located at both landfills have not been appropriately identified or defined.
The firefighters’ union was the agency which first asked for this report to be done. Many have expressed the belief that there are just too many unknown factors surrounding both landfills, the waste they contain and the underground fire. The report points out that potential hazards to firefighters if an emergency were to break out related to this issue include any portion of the landfills collapsing and airborne contaminants.
A landfill collapse could be catastrophic for firefighters responding to the scene. Not only would the firefighters potentially be injured in the actual collapse, but they could also be seriously hurt or even killed by the underground fire. For the past few months, there has been discussion that Republic Services, which owns both landfills, would pay to construct an underground barrier between the two landfills. Unfortunately, that construction keeps getting put on hold for various reasons. This delay could prove tragic for firefighters in the area.
Any time that someone is injured in a fire or explosion, the injuries can be extremely painful, life-changing and — in the most tragic of cases — deadly. Those who are hurt in such fires have the right to file personal injury claims in civil court against anyone whose negligence caused or contributed to the victim’s injuries. In the event someone is killed, surviving relatives often have the right to pursue wrongful death claims. While this will never return a lost loved one, it can help provide an extra layer of justice and let others know that negligence is never acceptable.
Please consider calling my St. Louis personal injury law firm today at 1-888-586-7041, free of charge, to find out more about the legal rights you have after being injured in a fire or explosion. Firefighter safety is extremely critical in Missouri and Illinois, but even those who take every precaution may be injured in fires or explosions. My personal injury firm can help you learn what rights you might have to seek restitution for your own injuries, or to hold someone accountable for the death of a loved one. Please call us as soon as possible to give your case the best chance at success possible.
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Sources: http://www.ksdk.com/story/news/local/2014/07/26/cdc-bridgeton-landfill-west-lake-landfill/13220013/ and http://www.stltoday.com/business/local/barrier-between-fire-and-nuclear-waste-at-west-lake-landfill/article_3ecf5c1b-a441-5985-85d8-b89cf95975e2.html