A former firefighter who was exposed to asbestos at work and recently developed mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lungs, has received compensation with help from the Fire Brigades Union (FBU).

John Stone, 64, from Flixton in Manchester was diagnosed with mesothelioma in March 2011.

Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos. There is no cure for the disease which is often diagnosed decades after the initial exposure.

Mr Stone was exposed to asbestos whilst working as a fire fighter for Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service during the 1970s.

Factories and Industrial Buildings where asbestos was present

He joined the fire service in 1974 and was often required to attend fires at factories and industrial buildings in the Greater Manchester area where asbestos was present.

He attended emergency call-outs to industrial buildings which had asbestos roofs and asbestos pipe lagging at Trafford Park including the Turners Asbestos Factory which was notorious for exposing hundreds of their workforce to asbestos.

During the early part of his career he attended many incidents without any protection against inhaling asbestos dust. Instructions to wear breathing apparatus were only issued sporadically despite the known asbestos risk.

Following his diagnosis he was advised by medical professionals to consider pursuing a claim for compensation. He instructed the FBU’s, lawyers, Thompsons Solicitors.

Thompsons Solicitors made claim for compensation

Thompsons made a claim against the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service and obtained a substantial compensation award in an out of court settlement.

Mr Stone, who has three children and five grandchildren, and is receiving treatment said: “I’m remaining optimistic about my condition. At the moment I feel strong and I’m taking each day as it comes.

“Claiming compensation was never just about the money. I was advised to look into it and I’m glad I did. I’d rather have my health but this compensation now means I’ve been able to do some things I wouldn’t have done otherwise. I’ve also been able to help out my children and grandchildren. The biggest relief is knowing my wife is now financially secure for the rest of her life.”

Not adequately protected against the dangers of asbestos

Paul Fogerty from the FBU said: “We know that many firefighters would have been exposed to asbestos in the past when the use of breathing apparatus was not compulsory.

“We are pleased we have been able to help Mr Stone during this difficult time and would urge any other FBU members who suffer from asbestos related disease to get in touch as we may be able to provide free specialist legal assistance.”

Steve Dickens from Thompsons Solicitors added: “Mr Stone did a job where he was saving lives but his employers put his life at risk by failing to ensure he was adequately protected against the dangers of asbestos. This compensation can never be a replacement for Mr Stone’s health but it will at least provide him with some peace of mind.”