Citing rats, broken plumbing, leaky ceilings, poor ventilation and run-down equipment, firefighter unions across the state are sounding the alarm about station houses they say receive little attention, saying poor conditions raise safety fears and hurt morale.
“There’s concerns statewide,” said Richard MacKinnon Jr., president of the Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts.
A state law signed by Gov. Charlie Baker last year that enforces standards created in the Occupational Safety and Health Act for all state and local government workers, took affect Feb. 1, forcing municipalities to address the issues, according to MacKinnon. Some stations, where firefighters both live and work, have real safety concerns, he said.
A fire engine breakdown in Woburn recently forced firefighters to respond to calls in a station pickup truck. The station has been criticized for having rat infestations, jammed windows and floor damage during storms. Woburn has taken initial steps toward building two new stations, appropriating $600,000 for a feasibility study.