Mike Urban of Framingham, Massachusetts died of mesothelioma on January 7 at the age of 57. His funeral was held last week, but his fire helmet was stolen from his nephew’s broken-down car during a snowstorm after the funeral. The helmet meant a lot to Maureen, Urban’s widow, so a $1,500 reward had been posted for its return.
Police got an anonymous call around 8:15 on Friday night stating that the helmet was in a backpack behind a shuttered fire station. Fire Chief Gary Daugherty was able to return the helmet to a grateful Maureen today.
Urban’s mesothelioma was a rare type of cancer caused by asbestos exposure. Firefighters are at a higher risk for the disease because of the toxic smoke they are exposed to in the line of duty. Although asbestos can no longer be used in new construction, many older buildings still contain asbestos insulation, tiles, and other building materials. During a fire, the asbestos fibers can be released into the air. Although modern firefighting protective gear is meant to protect firefighters from toxic exposure when properly used, it was not always the case years ago, and mesothelioma can take decades to manifest after exposure.
To read more about this story, please visit: Enterprise News