Monday, February 17, 2020
Feb. 17, 2020

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Woman sues city of Vancouver over husband’s death

Former career firefighter died of lung cancer in 2013; suit blames radon exposure

By , Columbian Assistant Metro Editor
Published:

The wife of a former career firefighter who died of lung cancer in 2013 is suing the city of Vancouver, alleging that her husband was exposed to deadly levels of radon gas while on the job.

Wendy Ann Murray filed the lawsuit April 20 on behalf of her husband’s estate and beneficiaries. Her husband, Carl Murray, died July 30, 2013.

The lawsuit alleges that the city knew of the toxic levels of radon gas in its fire stations during the time Murray was employed. The levels of gas were found to be the highest in the physical fitness areas in the basements of the fire stations, where Murray worked out, the lawsuit says.

According to the lawsuit, the city failed to provide a safe workplace for firefighters or to properly train command personnel, and it didn’t comply with the state’s Industrial Safety and Health Act and administrative code or its own regulations and policies. The city also breached its duty of care to Murray by acting “negligently, recklessly and outrageously,” therefore causing Murray’s radon exposure and subsequent cancer and death, the lawsuit says.

The city now is closing and destroying the radon-contaminated fire stations without informing the public of the lethal levels of radon inside, the lawsuit says.

Wendy Murray argues that her husband’s exposure to the radon gas and resulting cancer and death destroyed their marriage. She is claiming a loss of her spouse’s love, guidance, advice and support, as well as damages to Carl Murray’s estate. These losses include funeral and burial expenses, pre-death pain and suffering, destruction of close relationships, loss of enjoyment of life, elimination of remaining years of life, economic losses and any other damages the jury determines at trial.

The lawsuit seeks judgment against the city, including findings of wrongful death and liability for all damages — economic and otherwise. It also seeks all available damages under the state’s wrongful death and survival laws and any others provided to firefighters and their families.

Additionally, it seeks costs of the suit, including expert witness fees, other litigation fees and reasonable attorneys’ fees. Wendy Murray is being represented by Olympia-based Ron Meyers & Associates.

Efforts to reach Vancouver City Attorney E. Bronson Potter were unsuccessful Monday afternoon.

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