MULTIPLE firefighters who battled the Grenfell Tower inferno that claimed 72 lives have been diagnosed with terminal cancer.
Up to a dozen of the hero firefighters who fought the blaze in 2017 are sadly suffering from incurable cancers.
An investigation by the Mirror found that the majority diagnosed were suffering from digestive cancers and leukaemia.
The victims, some of whom are only in their 40s, have illnesses linked to the high levels of exposure to contaminants during the massive rescue operation.
But experts fear there could end up being more than 20 cases linked to the deadly blaze.
The accidental fire, which was the worst in Britain for more than a generation, was accelerated by deadly combustible cladding.
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It is believed to have started on the fourth floor, before it quickly spread to the whole building.
Desperate residents were heard screaming for help and horrified witnesses said they could see people waving sheets out of the windows, with some jumping from the building.
Many of those who died had been told to stay in their flats in what was one of the worst disasters in the UK's modern history.
Around 1,300 firefighters are thought to have been involved in the Grenfell tragedy, including those both inside and outside the tower, as well as those who responded in the days following the inferno.
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Many firefighters who attended Grenfell ran out of air in the tower, sat in contaminated suits for over 10 hours and waited in a smoke-logged basement for up to six hours.
The heroes were seen eating and drinking in their soot-covered protective clothing, with health experts allege could cause digestive cancer.
Firefighters – many not wearing protection – doused hotspots in the aftermath when toxins were believed to have been "even more dangerous."
Now firefighters and survivors of the tragedy have concerns about health problems looming over them and there have been calls for health screening.
David Badillo, the first firefighter to enter Grenfell. said he doesn't have cancer but is worried about the future.
He said: “On a personal level it’s very worrying. I’ve got two young kids and I want to see them grow up.
“I’ve been scanned and nothing’s come up, thankfully, so far, but you don’t know what could happen in the future.”
While another firefighter, in his 50s, who did not wish to be named, told The Mirror how Grenfell left him suicidal and suffering from scarred lungs.
The dad, who lives in the South East, risked his life as he and his colleagues led a trapped family to safety.
He said: “We were quite early on the scene and got held in this underground car park and we were breathing all the toxins for ages.
“I’ve heard loads of guys and girls have been sick with the ‘Grenfell cough’ and I’ve never smoked a cigarette in my life.”
He said he has failed several medicals since the blaze because of his lung function and now needs inhalers.
“Before Grenfell my health was great. I passed all the medicals and had no problems at all,” the dad explained.
“It literally was within a month or so I started to get this cough and for me that’s when it started to go downhill.
“The cough continued and I went for a routine medical and they found my lung function had gone down and I was taken off duty and left in limbo.”
Before Grenfell my health was great and I had no problems at all. Within a month or so I started to get this cough and that’s when it went downhill."
Research earlier this week by the Fire Brigades’ Union and the University of Central Lancashire found firefighters are at least twice as likely to be diagnosed with cancer if they notice soot in their nose or throat.
They are also twice as likely to be diagnosed with cancer if they remained in their PPE for more than four hours, as seen at Grenfell.
It's meant firefighters from Grenfell and across the country are calling for regular health checks.
Riccardo la Torre, Fire Brigades Union national official, said: “This vital research proves that firefighters are suffering and dying from cancer, strokes, heart disease, and mental ill health as a result of going to work and protecting the public.
“We now know that firefighters are exposed to health and life-threatening contaminants as a result of their occupation, and certainly would have been at an incident the size and scale of the Grenfell Tower Fire.
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“However, firefighters are left in the dark due to the lack of regular health surveillance and proper monitoring of exposures in the UK.
“Due to this inaction by the government and fire bosses, the Fire Brigades Union is commissioning further research to help us demand proper protection and support for our members who attended Grenfell, and for firefighters all over the UK.”
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