When there’s no one else to help, firefighters are the people who answer the call.
“Water’s pouring into your basement, water’s pouring out of your ceiling, something’s smoky, something’s on fire, you saw a spark, you don’t know what to do, they call us,” said firefighter John Callahan. “We’re not only firefighters. We’re professional problem solvers."
But who tries to solve the problems that firefighters face? It’s a challenge Callahan has taken up in the last few months. Callahan, who has been a Worcester firefighter for seven years, is acutely aware of the heightened risk of cancer faced by those in his field.
Last summer, Callahan had a spark of an idea. And it came from standing next to a running firetruck. “At the time, I was thinking why are we standing here in a cloud of exhaust," Callahan, 32, said in an interview. "I’m thinking to myself, I just got out of that burning building, I was wearing my mask the entire time, and now I’m standing next to this truck and it’s blowing who knows what all over us and I’m breathing heavy from working so hard and I’m sucking it in even worse.”