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CLE firefighters working in 50-degree stations

Posted at 9:58 PM, Jan 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-19 22:37:23-05

Cleveland's firefighters union has now filed multiple grievances with the city over chronic heating and cooling issues at fire stations throughout the city.

Cleveland Fire Fighter Local 93 President Frank Szabo told newsnet5.com the problem is a serious safety concern that has some firefighters dealing with temperatures in the 50s in critical parts of multiple fire stations.

Szabo reports six fire stations are dealing with various degrees of heating outages due to broken boilers at fire stations 7, 11, 20, 23, 33 and 36. Grievances have been filed with respect to outages at fire stations 23, 36, and 20.

"It's an absolute concern, these buildings are public safety buildings," said Szabo.

Szabo said the outages are affecting key parts of each fire station, and that HVAC issues have had an impact at 20 of 28 fire stations over the past eight months.

"Like the apparatus floor where the fire trucks are at, or the sleeping quarters, or the lavatory or shower facilities," said Szabo.  

"Fourteen of our 28 stations had air conditioning failure, and three grievances with heat and three more that are getting close."

Cleveland Fire Headquarters responded to our story, explaining it's well aware of the issue, and that finding repair parts for aging heating and cooling equipment is partly to blame.

Meanwhile, Szabo said the problem is a safety concern because the heating issues could have an impact on the readiness of safety crews.

"You want to have your first responders, you want to have your fire fighters, the community wants them ready," said Szabo.

"They want them in the absolute best possible condition to be able to go out and respond. That's difficult if you're responding from a fire station where the ambient temperature is in the 50-degree marks."

Cleveland Safety Committee Vice Chairman Kevin Conwell vowed to look into the repair issue.

"As a matter of fact it's a risk," said Conwell. "It's a risk to our firefighters, as well as the safety for the residents of the city of Cleveland. I will look into this and contact the fire union."

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