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21-year veteran firefighter dies from 9/11 related illness, brother died at Ground Zero

Ground Zero (Lafleursauvage/WikiCommons)

Daniel Foley spent 11 days searching for his brother’s body in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. His brother, Thomas Foley, 32, also a firefighter, had died battling the blaze.

Almost 19 years later, Foley, a retired 21-year FDNY veteran, succumbed to pancreatic cancer in New Rochelle, an illness attributed to his time spent at Ground Zero, the department said. He was 46.

“The attacks on the World Trade Center have claimed yet another brave member of our Department, and the Foley family. Daniel Foley, like his brother Thomas who was killed on September 11th, dedicated his life to rescuing others. We will never forget them,” said FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro in a statement before a memorial service at Rescue 3 on Sunday.

Foley’s brother served at Rescue 3 in the Bronx before passing away on the day of the attacks. Foley, who had been working at ladder 49, transferred to Rescue 3 in his honor.

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At the memorial service, members of the unit packed into the Bronx firehouse and stood in front of a plaque honoring Thomas, and the seven other firefighters from Rescue 3 that died battling the blaze.

“Danny’s dedication to the department came down to the World Trade Center, where Danny worked day in and day out looking for his brother and all the people that were killed there that day,” said Lt. Mickey Conboy of Rescue 3, visibly shaken by Foley’s death.

“On the first night, Danny promised his mother and father he wouldn’t come home until he brought his brother home with him. On the 11th day, Danny miraculously found his brother Tommy in \\rubble at the World Trade Center,” said Conboy.

Throughout his career, Foley was cited 10 times for bravery, four of them as an individual and six with his unit.

When he was not battling blazes, he was with his family at their New Rochelle home.

“Danny’s mark didn’t stop here in the firehouse or at work. Danny was first and foremost a great fireman, but he was a great man before that, and a great father, a great husband to his wife Carrie, and of five loving children that he leaves behind,” said Conboy.

As of December 2019, 16,045 people are listed as having 9/11-related cancer, not including the 838 who were diagnosed and passed away, according to the World Trade Center Health Program.

“Many firefighters throughout the city today are still dealing with the illnesses caused by 9/11 and we are all here to support all of our brothers throughout the job,” said Conboy.

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© 2020 New York Daily News