SCRANTON -- Some call it one of the hazards of the job -- dozens of firefighters from Lackawanna and Luzerne Counties have joined a legal fight against a maker of sirens, saying the sound has affected their hearing.
Seventy firefighters are listed as plaintiffs on the lawsuit that's resurfacing now after first being filed about 15 years ago.
That lawsuit was filed this week in Lackawanna County court. It seeks damages from a company called Federal Signal, one of the biggest makers of sirens.
It's the sound we associate with firefighters and it's being called into question by a 15-year-old lawsuit that's just resurfaced in Lackawanna County court.
The lawsuit was first filed in 2002 against Federal Signal of Illinois. An attorney for the company told Newswatch 16 that a judge in Illinois ruled that the suit must be refiled locally.
Firefighters involved in the suit are from Scranton, Dunmore, and Wilkes-Barre.
Firefighters we talked to say because of the time that's passed, some of the plaintiffs have died, many of them are retired.
Scranton Fire Chief Pat DeSarno showed us the type of siren in question. The city only has one truck that still has the "e-Q2B siren" on it.
Chief DeSarno says he and other firefighters had their hearing tested close to 20 years ago. Those with hearing loss were asked if they wanted to be part of the lawsuit.
The attorney for Federal Signal says the company faces about 2,500 such lawsuits across the country. The one here in our area alleges the sirens were defective and did not have the proper covering to make sure the sound only projects forward.
The lawsuit is asking for damages but if the suit is successful, each firefighter would get, at most, a few thousand dollars.
The attorney representing the siren company says it's won a similar case in Pittsburgh, and it's currently fighting one in Philadelphia. Federal Signal plans to fight this one too.