Since September 2016, 55 first responders have died from 9/11-related illnesses, according to first responder foundation founder John Feal. Within the last week, five first responders – three FDNY (Fire Department of New York) and two NYPD (New York Police Department) employees, have passed away from Ground-Zero related illnesses.
In 2001, each one of these heroes bravely rushed to the twin towers to help save whoever they could in the rescue and recovery effort. Now, after 16 years, those actions of bravery cost them their lives, NBC News reports.
FealGood Foundation 9/11 Advocacy Group
“Every time someone passes away, a part of me dies because I have the job of researching it and collecting data on those passing,” said John Feal. “I have been to 159 wakes and funerals.” The FealGood Foundation is a nonprofit organization that assists first responders who have been injured in the line of duty. His group raised money for the massive granite memorial on Long Island with each name etched into the stone representing those who perished on or since September 11, 2001 from a 9/11-related illness.
Parker Waichman is a national law firm that has spent many years fighting to ensure that the heroes and survivors of the 9/11 terrorist attacks are never forgotten. The firm is committed to helping anyone seeking legal information concerning a potential lawsuit and offers free, no-obligation case evaluations.
“Most people remember two buildings coming down and … senseless violence. But now, here we are 16 years later and thousands of people here in New York and across the country are sick and dying from their heroic actions.”
Remembering the Fallen Heroes
The memorial lists approximately 800 names and was updated most recently in September 2016. Since then, Feal says, 55 more NYPD and FDNY heroes have died, including the five who passed away this week. Cancer was the cause of death for many, according to NBC News.
Veteran firefighter Robert Newman was among those who succumbed to cancer. He spent all of this 39-year career working from a Lower East Side firehouse. Bunting has been draped in his honor.
The memorial has a flag that will forever fly at half-staff and is Feal’s way of saying thank you. “This was built so history is not distorted,” said Feal. “So that no one can take away from the heroic sacrifices these men and women did for their city and their country,” reports NBC News.
Most of the five that died over the last week have been laid to rest. EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) Rose Scott will be buried in the next few days.
The Zadroga Act
The Zadroga Act provides health benefits and compensation for those responders and survivors who suffer illnesses or injuries resulting from the September 11, 2001 attacks. It was named for James Zadroga, a 34-year-old detective who became ill after spending close to 500 hours working in the ruins of the World Trade Center, inhaling a mix of asbestos, pulverized cement, and other toxic chemicals. He died in January 2006 from an illness resulting from exposure to toxins at Ground Zero.
On February 22, 2016, the Zadroga Act received reauthorization through the work of organizations such as, Citizens for the Extension of the James Zadroga Act, the FealGood Foundation, the Uniformed Firefighters Association, the Uniformed Fire Officers Association, and Council District 37.
The reauthorization extends health benefits such as medical treatment and monitoring, to first responders and survivors until 2090, reports the New York Daily News. More than 70,000 responders and survivors rely on the World Trade Center Health Program and the Victim Compensation Fund. Citizens for the Extension of the Zadroga Act say 33,000 responders and survivors suffer a variety of ailments that include asthma, pulmonary disease, and gastric reflux. Researchers have identified over 50 types of cancer linked to toxins released when the towers fell. Many of the cancers and respiratory illnesses resulting from the toxic dust and other exposures take a long time to develop and years to emerge.
Mayor Bill de Blasio described the reauthorization as a “long overdue victory for the 72,000 brave men and women around the country who rely on these programs.”
Senator Chuck Schumer said those who rushed to the towers “will know that if they get sick because of their bravery, the federal government will be there for them.”
Legal Help for Health Effects Related to Ground Zero
If you or someone you know have been experiencing health issues related to 9/11, you may have valuable legal rights. The personal injury attorneys at Parker Waichman LLP can answer any legal question you may have. We urge you to contact us at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).