BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - A Birmingham firefighter who says the conditions at an East Birmingham fire station made him sick has now filed a lawsuit against the City of Birmingham and Mayor Randall Woodfin.
Michael Horsley who started with Birmingham in 2006 claims he, former and current employees of the City of Birmingham Fire Department ("BFD") have been forced to work in dangerous conditions at Fire Station 27 in the Huffman area.
Horsley says when he went back to work at Station 27 he started suffering from sinus infections, chest congestion, dry cough, increased blood pressure and chest palpitations.
The station which recently reopened was closed during the summer of 2019 because of health concerns, but the city says those problems have been fixed and the station is safe for employees.
"The safety of our city employees is a priority. Upon receiving the concerns about Fire Station 27 in May 2019, it was closed for inspection in early June 2019. Repairs and upgrades have been completed over the last few months. The city will review any additional questions that may exist to address any lingering concerns and to reassure our employees that the building is safe," according to a former statement provided by the mayor's office.
Horsley's attorney Scott Morro said questions about safety have not been answered.
Talking to WBRC FOX6 News in December, Morro said, “Somebody who has intimate knowledge and expertise needs to go in and look at the duct work and look at the venting. And look at the different environmental issues with the air. And do another report and make sure that those questions we have raised are answered and safe for those firefighters.”
The lawsuit asks for compensatory damages, including but not limited to an award for mental anguish and emotional distress; plaintiff costs and expenses, including an award of reasonable attorney's fees; and, award such other relief as may be appropriate.
The city provided this list of work that has been completed at the station:
1. Ductwork sealed (rooftop only) and touch up painting to address roof leak
2. Replaced rough or damaged ceiling tiles
3. Remediated Asbestos flooring and put back new tile flooring
4. Remediated duct tape
5. Removed window at bay area and enclosed by constructing a wall between bay and kitchen
6. Patched/painted near locker room area and performed some general cleaning
7. Installed GFIC outlet in kitchen area
8. Professional duct cleaning
9. No smoke filter installed on two vehicles (Further exhaust testing from vehicle will be conducted.)