Health & Science

Houston Fire Stations Will Get Retrofits To Capture, Vent Diesel Fumes

Fire Chief Samuel Peña is spearheading a program to remove carcinogenic diesel fumes from fire station bays.

Houston Fire Department station.
Houston Fire Department station.

Houston fire stations will soon become healthier places to work, thanks to a new program that will retrofit all 94 stations to capture and remove diesel exhaust from fire trucks.

Houston firefighters are exposed to carcinogenic diesel fumes when working in poorly ventilated fire station bays. “Cancer in the fire service has reached epidemic level,” said Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña.

Peña has been fighting for the retrofit since he took office just over two years ago. Thanks to a combination of corporate donations, FEMA grant money, and a local match just approved by Houston City Council, the first 15 stations are about to get upgraded. Those include Fire Stations 7, 9, 16, 21, 25, 28, 31, 39, 46, 51, 56, 58, 60, 68, and 73.

“We selected the 15 busiest stations throughout the city,” Peña said. “And those that didn’t have certain characteristics, for example those that weren’t able to ventilate their station because they didn’t have a front and back door in their bays, those were the stations that got higher priority.” 

The plan is to retrofit all 94 stations within three years.

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Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew heads Houston Public Media’s coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas delegations in the U.S. House and Senate, as well as the Texas governorship, the state legislature, and county and city governments. Before taking up his current post, Andrew...

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