AUSTIN (KXAN) — An Austin firefighter is now turning to KXAN after months of meeting with city leaders to share her story.
“We’ve repeatedly heard that, ‘We’re working on it,’ and nothing’s really been done. And so at this point, we felt like we needed to take other steps to get the message out there,” Austin Fire Department Lt. Carrie Stewart said.
Stewart was diagnosed with cancer, the number one killer of firefighters nationwide, three years ago. After filing a worker’s comp claim, she is now defending herself in a lawsuit the city filed. KXAN Investigates found Stewart is not alone.
Standing at a table in the Austin Firefighters Association headquarters, boxes full of binders, stacked with documents in front of her, Stewart said, “It took a while to come up with all of this, it was many hours sitting at my kitchen table and putting all of these documents together and compiling all of the research.”
It was hours that Stewart spent building her case.
“These are the areas where we were able to show links between my cancer and firefighting,” she said, pointing to a page.
Stewart was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015, 15 years into her service with AFD.
“I have to say that that fear with the unknowns of cancer — [scarier] than anything I’ve ever faced on the job,” she said.
Within her documentation, a letter from Texas Oncology states, “There is certainly a possibility that her risk for cancer has been affected by her nightshift work as a firefighter and her exposure to carcinogens during her job.” …Continue Reading Here