Three 9/11 First Responders Die of Cancer Within Hours of One Another

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According to news reports, a trio of firefighters who had been on duty and among the first responders to the 9/11 attacks and subsequent rescue efforts died on Monday of cancer, all within hours of one another.

Lt. Howard Bischoff, 58, and firefighters Daniel Heglund, 58, and Robert Leaver, 56, all succumbed to cancer, although doctors can't say with certainty that their response to the terror attacks and exposure to toxic dust is what caused them to develop cancer.

The deaths of the three heroic men are nonetheless "a painful reminder that 13 years later we continue to pay a terrible price for the department's heroic efforts," said Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro.

James Lemonda, president of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association, added that "On that day when first responders arrived, the air was toxic and remained toxic for many months afterwards."

Authorities believe as many as 1,000 people have died from illnesses caused by the toxicity of the dust that emerged when the twin towers fell in downtown Manhattan. Many others continue to battle with breathing problems, and many have also reported having developed subtypes of cancer. In fact, the Fire Department of New York says that 343 firefighters died on the day of the attacks, and another 89 have died from illnesses believed to have been brought on in the aftermath.

The US Congress has allotted $2.78 billion to help those first responders pay for illnesses related to the terror attacks, but legislation that allows for compensation and treatment for first responders is currently set to expire in two years and Congress has not yet voted to extend it.

Source: BBC

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