A retired NYPD detective who spent six grueling months working on the Ground Zero recovery effort has died from a 9/11-related cancer, his family said as they mourned him Sunday.
Detective Christopher Cranston, 48, who spent his career in Brooklyn’s 60th and 62nd Precincts, died of cancer Saturday — and his grieving wife ripped into the U.S. senators who are blocking the renewal of the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund.
Clare Cranston said she called Sens. Rand Paul and Mike Lee from her dying husband’s hospital bedside, getting a staff member on the phone for Lee, and a recorded message for Paul.
“I called up Sen. Lee and Sen Paul and I told them they need to sign the bill,” she said. ”I opened with, ‘How did they sleep last night? Because I slept on a chair for the last 14 days.”
Paul (R-Ky.) and Lee (R-Utah) stood in the way of a unanimous consent request Wednesday that would have sent the $10.2 billion renewal of the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund to the president’s desk. They backed down Thursday, agreeing to vote next week in return for having their own amendments considered.
Cranston, who was living with his wife and children in Breezy Point on Sept. 11, 2001, worked on the pile and spent months sifting through debris at the Fresh Kills landfill on Staten Island.
“He worked 12-hour tours, six days a week at the time, as did all the others,” she said.
“At the time, we had four children, and the youngest was three months old. He had just come home at 3 o’clock in the morning from overtime the night before,” she said.
When she saw coverage of the attack on TV, she woke him up — and he went right to work. “He got his clothes on, and I didn’t see him for a few days after that. He went right to the scene.”
He learned he had colorectal cancer on June 8 of last year, she said, but by then, it had already metastasized to his liver and spread, she said.
Cranston and his wife celebrated their 20th anniversary on June 26.
“We spent the day in chemo,” she said.
“The 9/11 Devil (cancer) took Chris from his family and friends,” John Feal, an advocate for 9/11 responders, posted to Facebook Sunday.
Cranston joined the NYPD in 1991 and became a detective shortly after 9/11, in November 2001. He left the force in 2013 as a member of the 60th Precinct detective squad, police said.
“He was a gentle giant,” his wife said. “He was a hero.”
Cranston is survived by five children. His son Chris, 19, recalled that his father loved going to Mets and Jets games with him. “He’s a great man,” he told the Daily News. “He was really a mentor, really shaped me into who I am today. He’s in a better place now.”
Funeral services for Cranston are scheduled for Thursday at 11:00 a.m. at St. Christopher’s Roman Catholic Church at 130 Midland Ave. on Staten Island. Colonial Funeral Home at 2819 Hylan Blvd. in Staten Island will host viewings Tuesday and Wednesday, from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m.
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