Asbestos still taking lives of 9/11 firefighters; death toll rises to 32 more people over the past year

On September 11, 2001, 343 members of Fire Department of New York (FDNY) were killed when the twin towers in New York City crumbled down in the most traumatic terrorist attacks experienced in the United States. Yet, over 15 years later, firefighters and others continue to die due to toxic substance exposure during 9/11.

FDNY 911 heroes

FDNY 911 heroes [Photo: NBC/Screenshot]

As the 16th anniversary of the tragic incident approached, New York Daily News reported that an additional 16 former firefighters involved in the 9/11 rescue efforts passed away within the past year. The latest deaths brings the total fatality numbers of FDNY workers during 911 to 159.

Last Thursday, those who lost their lives during 9/11 were honored at the  FDNY headquarters at MetroTech in Brooklyn. Honorees will include firefighters, fire marshals, EMT workers, and civilian workers that lost their lives during 9/11. The event will mark the most addition of names to the wall since 2011. Honorees include:

  • Firefighter Kevin Rooney
  • Retired firefighter Paul Santoro
  • Retired firefighter John Dunn
  • Retired firefighter Joseph O’Toole.
  •  FDNY Marine Engineer Robert Alexander
  • Raymond Alexander

“Dedicated to the memory of those who bravely served this department protecting life and property in the city of New York in the rescue and recovery effort at Manhattan Box 5-5-8087 World Trade Center.”

In addition to firefighters who lost their lives, there are numerous other workers who are suffering the ill effects of asbestos decades later.

“Cleaning asbestos was work nobody wanted to do so it was left to the immigrant workforce, mostly workers from Latin America and Poland,’’ said Edison Severino, Laborers’ Union, Local 78’d business manager.

“By the third day after the attacks, we had these bucket brigades set up bringing out debris…. Business agents were all asking for environmental cleanup workers, and there was no request for documents or paperwork,” Severino told the Los Angeles Times. “People were working double and triple shifts, sleeping for a few hours at a church, then going back to work.”

Help For Those Affected by 9/11

The federal government funds programs for health and wellness for those affected by the 9/11 attacks. The World Trade Center Health Program provides healthcare to those affected by 9/11, and the Victim Compensation Fund provides compensation for victims and their families.

In 2015, former president Barrack Obama signed a bill that would keep the programs in effect until 2020, since more illnesses continue to surface, including victims of asbestos-related illness, including mesothelioma and asbestos-related lung cancer.

As of September 2014, more than more than 30,000 claims have been filed and more than $3 billion has been paid out in compensation.

Ben Chevat, director of the nonprofit watchdog group, Health Watch, told the LA Times that although people understand what happened on Sept. 11, 2001, many aren’t familiar with how many people who still live with devastating illnesses brought about by helping in the aftermath of the disaster.

“People in America know the story of 9/11. What’s really not well known or understood are the challenges facing so many to this day.”

There are likely thousands of people who helped during 9/11 who aren’t aware that they’re eligible for for the health and compensation fund. If you need additional information on how you or a loved one can apply, feel free to contact us at 800-793-4540.

More Help for Asbestos Victims

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may be eligible for substantial compensation. Fill out our form to receive our free Financial Compensation Packet. Our packet is loaded with information on leading mesothelioma attorneys in your area, how to file a claim for asbestos trust funds, how to get paid in 90 days, and more. 

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