Two additional firefighters have died due to illnesses related to their service at the World Trade Center during and after the 9/11 attacks, bringing the total number of Fire Department of the City of New York members who have died from 9/11-related diseases to 343. This marks 22 years since the attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 people. The Uniformed Firefighters Association of Greater New York reported that the FDNY has seen a significant increase in deaths related to 9/11 illnesses, nearing the number of FDNY deaths on 9/11.
Since observing the 22nd anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center earlier this month, Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh announced the death of two FDNY members with World Trade Center illnesses. These are the 342nd and 343rd deaths since they responded to the tragedy in lower NYC.
Hilda Luz Vannata, a former FDNY member, passed away on September 20 due to complications from pancreatic cancer related to 9/11. Robert Fulco, a retired FDNY firefighter, died of pulmonary fibrosis on September 23 at 73. Pulmonary fibrosis is a chronic disease characterized by thickening and scarring of the tissue surrounding the air sacs in the lungs, and exposure to certain toxins can bring it on.
Approximately 11,000 individuals who participated in the emergency response to 9/11 continue to experience illnesses associated with their work at the World Trade Center, with 3,500 individuals with cancer. Andrew Ansbro, president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association, a union representing New York City firefighters, expressed concern that thousands of New York City firefighters and other people related to the cleanup have been diagnosed with cancer, and the numbers will continue to climb without an end in sight.
James Brosi, president of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association, and Ansbro urged for more funds to be allocated for the Fire Department of New York WTC Health Program, which aims to offer extensive physical and mental health services to all current and former FDNY members involved in responding to the 9/11 attacks.