Pittsburgh firefighters sue over siren hearing loss

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Four Pittsburgh firefighters filed a lawsuit Monday against several manufacturers alleging loud sirens on the trucks they use for their jobs have caused hearing loss.

Three of the firefighters, Ralph N. Bilski, Jeremiah Dengler and Roger J. Maher III have been employed by the city since at least 1981, and another, Mark W. Godlewski, was hired in 2000. They claim the sirens have caused irreversible hearing damage.

The complaint names as defendants American Lafrance, E-One Inc., Kovatch Mobile Equipment Corp., Mack Trucks Inc., Pierce Manufacturing Inc., Seagrave Fire Apparatus and Federal Signal Corp.

The lawsuit alleges that the trucks were defective in that they lacked sufficient insulation to protect firefighters' hearing. In addition, the plaintiffs claim that the companies that made the sirens, as well as the truck manufacturers, failed to provide warnings about their use.

The lawsuit does not name the city of Pittsburgh as a defendant. City solicitor Dan Regan said he couldn't comment because he hadn't seen the lawsuit.

He referred calls to Public Safety Director Mike Huss, who did not return a message late Monday.

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