Sunday, January 13, 2002

Local rescuers had Trade Center cough

By Susan Vela
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Several Hamilton County rescuers suffered from the so-called World Trade Center cough upon leaving ground zero in New York City, rescue team organizers said. Most no longer are experiencing the chronic cough and its accompanying respiratory problems.

        Upon returning to the Tristate, however, one man diagnosed with breathing troubles had to spend two days in the hospital and another missed two days of work because breathing had become became such a chore, said Steve Ashbrock, chief of the Madeira-Indian Hill Fire Department and commissioner of the Hamilton County Urban Search and Rescue Team.

        The Hamilton County team sent 18 representatives from 22 firefighting agencies.

        “We don't know what the true nature of ... this cough” is, Mr. Ashbrock said. “Any time you work in an atmosphere where there's fire or burning materials, there's respiratory hazards. We hope the prob lems that anyone has aren't lingering problems, but we're not sure.

        “When this whole event is done and reviewed, we're going to have learned tons of stuff. ... The nature and the scope of (Sept. 11) was beyond the level of response (the nation) has had to cope with in history.”

        Steven Stephanides, a University Hospital physician and a rescue team member, plans to study the health problems of the rescue workers.

        He could not be reached for comment.

        Trade Center rescuers fear health risks

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