The New York City Fire Department (FDNY) reported that the number of its emergency workers who have died due to illnesses related to the 9/11 terror attacks now equals the number lost on that fateful day in 2001.
In a recent news update, it was announced that 343 members have now passed away from such illnesses, the same number who perished when planes targeted the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers.
Hilda Vannata, an emergency medical technician, succumbed to pancreatic cancer on 20 September this year.
Shortly after, retired firefighter Robert Fulco passed away due to pulmonary fibrosis on 23 September.
Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh stated: “Both illnesses were a result of time they spent working in the rescue and recovery at the World Trade Center site.”
Kavanagh added: “With these deaths, we have reached a sombre, remarkable milestone: we have now suffered the same number of deaths post September 11th as we experienced that day.”
She emphasized the ongoing responsibility the department has to its members, saying: “Our responsibility to our FDNY colleagues extends far beyond what we asked of them on September 11th and in the days and months that followed.”
After the 9/11 attacks, exposure to the toxic materials left many first responders at an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, and various forms of cancer.
Ms. Kavanagh highlighted: “The toll of these illnesses on our FDNY responders includes not only the 343 who have died since 9/11 but also the 11,000 who suffer from WTC-related diseases, including 3,500 with cancer.”
Stressing the FDNY’s dedication, she said, “Our commitment to their service and sacrifice must remain as unshakeable for the next two decades as it has been for the last two.”
To view the full FDNY statement, visit their official Instagram post.
The escalating toll of 9/11-related illnesses among the FDNY’s brave responders underscores the prolonged repercussions of that day.
It’s a grim reminder that the impacts of such tragedies continue long after the event itself.
For the FDNY, it signifies more than just numbers – each individual represents a story, a sacrifice, and a legacy.
The commitment shown by the department in ensuring ongoing care and support for its members resonates deeply with our values at Fire and Safety Journal Americas.
The FDNY’s unwavering dedication serves as a powerful testament to the resilience and solidarity of emergency response communities everywhere.