The most dangerous part about firefighting isn't fire itself, "Cancer is now the number one killer of firefighters, occupational cancer," Captain with Greensboro Fire Department, Vinnie Messina said.
Messina knows that all to well. The fire captain's brother, Mauro Messina, was one of those firefighters. He was diagnosed two years ago with a rare brain cancer called glioblastoma. "My brother was 53 when he was diagnosed and 54 when he was buried this past May," Messina said.
Messina has also lost friends. Razmziddin El-Amin and Robert Swink were both Greensboro Firefighters, both died of occupational cancer.
Experts say firefighters are exposed to carcinogens from the flames but also from their gear because the gear itself contains toxic chemicals.