Firefighters in Woburn, Massachusetts, say they have had enough with poor conditions in their stations.
Woburn has five different stations, but the one in the worst shape is Station 3, according to their union president, Brian McLaughlin.
They've taken dead rats out of the ceiling and under the sink, cleaned up serious leaks coming from their doors and light fixtures, and even spotted several instances of mold. There's also a large crack outside that they believe could compromise the structural integrity of the building.
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"We'd like a little help. You wouldn't want it at your house — why would you want it at your workplace?" said McLaughlin.
They just got some open concept lockers, but not all the stations have them installed yet.
"Cancer is a big thing in the fire department, so worrying about mold and other things in our station when we have to worry about it occupationally, as well," said McLaughlin.
McLaughlin said these things have gone on for way too long in a city that is growing immensely.
"There's mold issues which the city continues to address they take down the sheet rock and replace it but the problem still exists," said McLaughlin.
The union president opened the doors to the fire station so we could get a look for ourselves. When our tour was quickly interrupted by a surprise visit from Woburn Fire Chief Stephen Adgate, he didn't shy away from all the challenges the fire department is facing.
"We are worried about it and we are trying our best to keep up with the deficiencies, and maybe to some people's satisfaction, it's not fast enough," said Adgate.
As a leader for the fire department, he hears the concerns from his men, and then works with the mayor to find solutions. He said he can't change what's happened in the past, but he's excited for the future. He said the city is close to announcing an architecture firm they are going to work with to build a new fire station. The city has also allocated $600,000 to a feasibility study to get things started.
Woburn is like dozens of other cities and towns trying to prioritize all their needs with limited budgets. Woburn's mayor sent us an email highlighting the fact they just built a $31 million library, and a $32 million elementary school, and just appropriated $600,000 to start the process for a new fire station.
Despite the plans for a new station, the firefighters are concerned about the conditions in the meantime.
"That's still, in our opinions, two years away, so what are we going to do today?" asked McLaughlin. "These guys still have to live here for the next two years or more."