Firefighters are known for risking their lives, but usually their families are kept safe. However, one fire hall is experiencing a completely bizarre coincidence with their firefighters's families that has people wondering how it's even possible.
In the last five years, a fire house in Hawaii has had three different firefighters announce that they had a child who was diagnosed with bone cancer. The most recent one was just a few months ago and it's starting to make the people believe that this is more than a coincidence.
Captain Andrew Fukuda from the fire house admits that "it's startling," and that they are starting to suspect that there is something more to the diagnosis.
"This is not really a coincidence," Fukunda said. "When it happens three times at the same station to our firefighters' children, everybody's concerned. Everybody's concerned about it."
It started in 2013 when a four-year-old girl, Sky Racoma, was diagnosed with a rare type of bone cancer called Ewing's sarcoma. Luckily, she is now in remission.
Ten-year-old Kala Peter, was the second child of a firefighter diagnosed with bone cancer. In 2014, she was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, but unfortunately she passed away in 2017.
But that wasn't the last time that the child of a firefighter from this same station would get sick...
Just a few weeks ago, eleven-year-old Ally Tamayose was diagnosed with the same type of bone cancer as Peter, and is undergoing chemotherapy for her Osterosarcoma.
Now, firefighters are started to leave the fire station. Captain Aaron Lenchanko says that the most recent diagnosis has caused a few people to transfer to another station. "They're tremendously concerned," he said.
Health officials are asking for an immediate investigation. "Is the station really the common area that is what's causing this problem or are there other links that these three children have," said president of the firefighters union Bobby Lee. "Waipahu is a fire station within an industrial area and we don't even know what comes and goes in that industrial area."
The University of Hawaii Cancer Center has been assigned to investigate the causes of the cancer and see if there is any evidence to support this new cancer cluster. "Through a request by the Department of Health, the University of Hawaii Cancer Center is looking at any links between firefighter duties and family members who contract cancer," the statement said. "The health and well-being of firefighters and their families are of the utmost importance to the HFD. These families are in our thoughts and have the support of our entire department."
Fukuda says that the investigation may help soothe the fears of the other firefighters. Even if it doesn't find a definitive cause, he believes it may "rule out certain things, certain factors" and "calm a lot of our firefighters."
It's not uncommon for firefighters to have increased cancer rates because of all the dangerous toxins they breathe in, but it's never really been shown to have had an effect on their children. This study should help provide some answers to the heroic people who risk their lives to save ours daily.
Do you know anyone who is a firefighter? Have you ever noticed how their families handled it? Scary to think that your job could affect your children in such a huge way!