A heartbreaking milestone marks this year’s 9/11 anniversary: 341 FDNY members have now died from Ground Zero-related illnesses, nearly equaling the death toll of the urban smoke-eaters who died in the 2001 terrorist attack.
“Twenty-two years ago, the loss of 343 firefighters was an unimaginable number, and unfortunately the day when we reach that milestone is quickly approaching,” Andrew Ansbro, president of the FDNY Uniformed Firefighters Association, said at a news conference Friday.
“We have attended about 40 funerals this year for the members we have lost and we know there will be no end. So for us it’s every day or every week – but for the general public we’re having this press conference to remind everyone that it’s still ongoing and that funding is still needed,” he said.
James Brosi, president of the FDNY Uniformed Fire Officers Association, warned that “we could exceed the immediate death toll of 9/11 “even before the anniversary.”
In February, Brosi said he lost his own father, Joseph Brosi, who worked at Engine 88 in the Bronx and battled lung and bladder cancer after 9/11.
Brosni is now worried about those who are still sick.
“In the early anniversaries immediately after 9/11, our primary focus was on the people we lost because that was our greatest concern,” Brosi said.
“And as the years passed and the latency period passed for the diseases that will now affect us, our concern shifted not only to the people we lost, but to the people we have lost since then, and the people who are now fighting.”
He credited the World Trade Center surveillance program and the medical treatment his father received with having “a dramatic impact on his quality of life” and recounted that an additional $600 million was added “to provide funding.” to increase and increase so that people have access to care.”
“We will never be able to undo this revelation,” said Brosi.
“But we have the ability and the obligation to limit the impact for as long as possible so that people can lead fulfilling lives.”
“Having cancer is the absolute worst thing that can happen to you. Worrying about how you’re going to pay for it is probably even worse.”
Ansbro acknowledged that the number of dead and dying from the September 11 attacks was “staggering.”
“Three hundred and forty-three times two is almost 700 people – that’s about 6-7% of the entire department at the time,” Ansbro said.
“It’s important to let people know that things are still going on for their neighbor, perhaps someone who is suffering,” he stressed.
On Wednesday, the FDNY added 43 new names to its World Trade Center Memorial Wall to remember firefighters, paramedics and civilian relief workers who died from illnesses related to rescue and recovery efforts following the Sept. 11 attack. ABC News reported – with 55 names, the second largest group added to the memorial wall since its inception 12 years ago.