HOUSTON (FOX 26) - During one of the hottest weeks of the summer, the firefighters union says more than two dozen Houston firetrucks have broken air conditioning units. In a letter addressed to the city of Houston Monday, the union is now calling on Mayor Sylvester Turner to fix the problem.
Firefighters Union President, Marty Lancton said this is a health and safety issue for firefighters as they have no other choice but to get inside these scorching hot trucks to do their job.
One of the trucks at Fire Station 19 has apparently not had functioning AC for the last 18 months.
"We're sending more firefighters to the hospital in this past month than we have in the previous months. That is not a joke," Lancton said.
Without Houston Firefighters already depleted from the scorching temperatures outside, Lancton said the union has received reports that more than 25 firetrucks across the city have broken air conditioning units. He said the temperatures inside some are racking in at over 100 degrees.
"It was about a 101 inside the cab. That's a very dangerous situation to put firefighters in and that's without their gear on. It's a little bit ironic to the firefighters that we're rightfully so telling the citizens they need to stay out of the heat and having cooling centers. But we're not even taking care of our own, who are going out in the heat taking care of these people that are experiencing heat related illnesses and issues," Lancton said.
Lancton criticized the city for not prioritizing the repairs after he said similar break downs happened last year. On average, Lancton said Houston firefighters respond to a thousand calls a day, regardless of whether or not the AC works.
"The fact that I'm hearing that it intermittently works-- I invite anybody to go over to the fire stations and live there for 24 hours while being prepared to respond to your emergencies," Lancton said.
In a statement, the Houston Fire Dept. responded: