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9/11 first responder deaths from illnesses nears number of firefighters killed that day

The facade of one of the towers of the World Trade Center lies in ruins as workmen work in the early morning hours on Sept. 14, 2001. (GARY FRIEDMAN/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
September 11, 2023

Twenty-two years after the devastating 9/11 attacks, the number of first responders who have died as a result of illnesses caused by the terrorist attacks has almost reached the number of firefighters who died during the attacks.

According to the Uniformed Firefighters Association, 341 New York City Fire Department firefighters, paramedics and civilian staff members have died from illnesses caused by the events of 9/11. The names of each of the first responders are displayed at the FDNY World Trade Center Memorial Wall.

The number of first responders who have died from 9/11 illnesses is currently just behind the 343 firefighters who were killed during the terrorist attacks in September of 2001, according to CNN.

“As we approach the 22nd anniversary of 9/11, the FDNY continues to feel the impact of that day. Each year, this memorial wall grows as we honor of those who gave their lives in service of others,” Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh said in a recent press release.

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“These brave men and women showed up that day, and in the days and months following the attacks to participate in the rescue and recovery efforts at the World Trade Center site. We will never forget them.”

According to Fox News, the FDNY implemented a “total recall” on 9/11, requiring every firefighter in New York City to respond to the crisis. As a result, over 8,600 firefighters responded to the terrorist attack, in addition to retired firefighters.

A 2019 study found that first responders who were exposed to the dust in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks were more likely to be diagnosed with cardiovascular disease. CNN also reported that multiple forms of cancer and respiratory disease have been linked to pollutants that were dispersed as a result of the terrorist attacks.

During an interview with Fox News in August, attorney Michael Barasch said, “Last night, we lost our 340th firefighter. It’s just heartbreaking. We always knew this day would come. We knew how toxic the dust was. It had the pH level of Drano. And here at my law firm, we lose two clients every single day.”