HAZLETON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Firefighters take on many risks doing their jobs, but many face an even bigger risk as they get older.

Ask any firefighter what they consider the most dangerous part of running into a building, and they’ll probably say it’s the smoke.

The flames burn appliances, carpets, and furniture, creating waves of toxic fumes.  Those fumes can lead to cancer and other health problems.

Statistically, cancer is the leading cause of firefighter line-of-duty deaths in the United States, according to the International Association of Firefighters.  About 60% of career firefighters will die of cancer.

An organization with roots in Luzerne County is coming to their rescue.

Justin Mhley started Foundation 58 in memory of his father.  The non-profit organization supports firefighters, police officers, and other first responders who get diagnosed with cancer.

Mhley said he hopes Foundation 58 can become more proactive in the near future.

Instead of just offering grants to first responders who have cancer, he also wants to develop safety programs to help prevent the cancer diagnosis in the first place.

Click here if you would like to learn more about Foundation 58, including how to apply for assistance or make a donation.

Click here to see the findings from a study of cancer among firefighters.