Success fire station to remain closed after cancer mystery

Success Fire Station will not be reopened. Picture: Jon Hewson. d439021
Success Fire Station will not be reopened. Picture: Jon Hewson. d439021

CAREER fire fighters from the Success Fire Station will not be asked to return to the facility, with Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Wayne Gregson admitting the cause of a number of cancer cases there may never be known.

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services closed the station in November after a fourth fire fighter in six years was diagnosed with kidney cancer.

In March it was revealed environmental testing had failed to find a link between the site and cancer cases experienced by fire fighters based there.

That was followed up by an analysis of the work history of the fire fighters, medical testing of fire fighters who had an association with the station, an investigation by the Department of Health, and a follow up review of these investigations by an independent panel.

But with no cause found, Commissioner Gregson ruled out forcing fire fighters to return to the site.

“I am advised a cause is not likely to be found and we may never have an answer for why four fire fighters from the one station have been diagnosed with the same cancer,” he said.

“I have come to a decision that I cannot in good conscience direct any fire fighter to return to the Hammond Road site.”

The City of Cockburn moved to reassure nearby residents and sporting facility users that the area was safe, with environmental health manager Nick Jones writing a letter to locals.

City chief executive Stephen Cain said the City was satisfied there was no public health concern for residents.

“The comprehensive testing of the soil, air and water in and around the fire station found no evidence to suggest that there are any concerns for the health of fire fighters or residents,” he told the Gazette.

Fire fighters will continue to work from the Cockburn Volunteer Emergency Services Complex on Poletti Road until an alternative is arranged.

The future of the Hammond Road station is yet to be decided, while DFES has not ruled out further investigations in the future.