A retired member of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has been awarded compensation after developing the asbestos-related disease, mesothelioma.

The 80-year-old man worked as a firefighter for two councils between 1959 and 1989, where he would attend to fires in schools, factories and offices. Some of the buildings he worked in contained asbestos.

During his career he was only occasionally provided with breathing equipment, meaning that he was often exposed to smoke and asbestos.

Once a fire had been put out, he would be required at times to pull down unsafe sections of the building and check the debris to make sure nothing was burning, which caused asbestos dust to again be breathed in.

It was during a game of golf when he noticed that he had an ache in his chest and breathing difficulties. His GP sent him for an x-ray, which discovered fluid on his lungs, and he was later diagnosed with mesothelioma.

He contacted the FBU and instructed asbestos disease specialists, Thompsons Solicitors, to investigate a claim for compensation.

The FBU member said: “I couldn’t believe it when my doctor told me I had mesothelioma. I’ve had to give up my hobbies, such as golf and model making, and I’m often too tired to walk.

“Even though I haven’t worked for the fire brigade for several years, the FBU still made sure I was looked after. Together with Thompsons, they provided me with advice and support when I needed it the most. I would urge any former firefighters who are suffering from chest problems like me to visit their doctor and get in touch with their union for advice.”

Dave Green, FBU national officer, said: “Our member dedicated 30 years of his career to the fire service, but tragically his loyalty to his job has led to him to developing this terrible condition.

“The FBU works hard to support its members, both working and retired, so that negligent employers are held accountable for their wrongdoing.”

Lorna Webster, of Thompsons Solicitors, said: “Mesothelioma is a debilitating disease, which has seriously impacted on our client’s quality of life. He now has difficulty doing the washing up and getting himself dressed because of how his health has been affected.

“Sadly, this case is another poignant reminder of the dangers of working unprotected with asbestos, but we’re proud to have worked to secure the maximum amount of compensation which he so rightly deserves.”