Firefighters can smell smoke on their hair and skin for days after a fire; chemicals get into skin through the pores.
From coast to coast, mayors and city councils are hacking away at firefighters' ranks in desperate attempts to cut budgets and save cash by cutting workers.
Labor leaders, while endorsing the president's budget deficit speech, say job creation will need to be addressed if the long-term fiscal health of the nation is to be restored.
AFL-CIO leaders have told a top aide to President Obama that the current fight in states over workers' rights must be used to discuss the future of the country and of workers.
The Supreme Court on Monday ruled in favor of 6,000 Black applicants for firefighting jobs here, adding they could proceed with a lawsuit that accuses the city of using a racially discriminatory hiring exams.