Detroit Workers Say They’re Sick After Medical Waste Fire

DETROIT (WWJ) – Some workers at Bridging Communities in southwest Detroit are complaining of illness after an arson fire at a warehouse nearby that was apparently storing medical waste.

Resident Vaughnia Vega said she is having problems she has never had before.

“I had an upper respiratory infection, including my lungs, my sinuses, and my ears,” Vega explained. “I’ve been on antibiotics; it’s my second session with antibiotics.”

Vega says a couple of her co-workers developed blisters and a skin infection.

Ellis Stafford, of the Detroit Crime Commission, says he saw medical waste in the building during the investigation.

“You’re supposed to incinerate hazardous medical waste, not store it,” Stafford said. ” It had stored there for God only knows how long.”

Stafford has reported his findings to the EPA and DEQ for enforcement, but says changes are needed in the laws. He says he saw someone moving materials after the fire.

“He knew this had to be bad material, because he even put on a chemical suit,” Stafford said. “The booties, the blue chemical suit,the hood, the mask. You don’t do that if you personally believe that the stuff is isn’t dangerous.”

Vega said that her and her co-workers want answers as to why the waste was not taken care of.

“At this point, we’re just trying to find out why this happened and how we stop it from happening ever again,” Vega said. “We need to get this stuff out of our neighborhood.”

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