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Fairhaven firefighter riding PMC, hopes to get chemicals out of protective gear

Fairhaven firefighter riding PMC to support fellow first responders
Fairhaven firefighter riding PMC to support fellow first responders 02:19

FAIRHAVEN - A Fairhaven firefighter will take to her pedals at the Pan-Mass Challenge. She and her fellow firefighters are hoping to raise money to help their colleagues battling cancer.

Firefighters are at a higher risk of cancer due to the toxins in the air, and in their clothes. Chemicals in their protective gear has been linked to a higher risk of cancer. A group of firefighters are hoping to get those chemicals removed from the garments. To do so, they are going to need to raise money for research.

Maggie Rocha
Fairhaven Firefighter Maggie Rocha CBS Boston

"Because it's our job, I think we just do it, and shower afterwards. The gear is cleaned, and we wash it. We have extractors here that take the chemicals out," said Maggie Rocha, the Fairhaven firefighter in the PMC.

The Fairhaven Fire Department lost two firefighters to cancer in recent years. It's part of the reason Rocha joined the PMC team for the Professional Firefighters of Massachusetts. She also had a friend, Jamie Pickup, who survived two different types of breast cancer. Maggie hopes the money from their ride will make a difference in the safety of her colleagues.

"We want those chemicals out"

"The risk is higher for firefighters in general, plus I have a family history," said Rocha. "We want the money to specifically go towards the treatment and research of firefighter cancer. There's a very big movement to get at the chemicals in our protective equipment to fight fires. We want those chemicals out. What we are seeing are large amounts of that in our two levels of the suit."

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