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More speak out about health concerns at local police station


It’s a story we first brought you a couple of weeks ago. Police officers who work in one of Albany’s stations say the building is making them sick.

Because of that report, even more people are coming out saying something needs to be done.

Union officials now estimate more than 50 people are dealing with health issues. All of them spending time working Albany’s South Station.

The Albany Police Union says dozens of people who have worked in South Station had cancer, have cancer, or have passed away from cancer.

“These guys are breathing it in five days a week every week for 20 years it’s going to wear on their health eventually at some point,” Gregory McGee, VP of the Albany Police Union, said.

Several retired officers coming forward to tell their stories.

“I fought leukemia. 2013,” Merlin Larose said.

“All my joints are gone and my knees and my hips,” Ray Boyea said.

“I have leukemia now which requires me to have blood testing every three months,” Cas Polek said.

All decided to speak out after Deputy Jesse Smith took his concerns to NEWS10 ABC’s Anya Tucker.

“He hit the nail on the head when he said it’s too much of a coincidence to not be a coincidence,” Larose said.

Larose worked for 15 years at South Station and is in remission from leukemia.

“When I found out I had cancer I thought they were crazy,” Merlin said.

Boyea also worked in South Station for several years and has health issues. He says he believes his health problems are from the time he spent in the building.

Polek agrees and says even his doctor thinks his cancer could have come from the building.

“Something related the benzine or radioactive waves. It’s definitely something that’s in that building.”

He says he thinks the number of people affected is even higher than estimated.

“I’ve gone to 10 or 15 funerals in the last couple years of people who worked in their building who died of cancer,” Polek said.

Acting Chief Robert Sears says testing of air quality in South Station is ongoing but everything so far has come back negative.

“Every step we know about were trying to take and we’re doing the testing and getting as much information as we can.”

Mayor Kathy Sheehan says this is the first time she’s heard about the problem and that she will be following up on the concerns.

“This is something that we take very seriously. We want to make sure our employees are working in a safe environment.”

Union representatives say ultimately what happens next is up to her.

“It’s really on the mayor and I challenge her to come work here for two weeks,” McGee said.

As far as that challenge goes, the mayor declined to comment on whether or not shed spend two weeks working here in South Station to see those conditions for herself.

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