9/11-linked Illnesses Claim 343rd FDNY Member, Matching Tragic Toll of Attacks.


The tragic toll resulting from the events of September 11, 2001 continues to climb, as the New York City Fire Department sadly reports the 343rd member’ death due to 9/11-related illnesses – a chilling echo of the number of lives lost within the department on the tragic day itself.

In the somber shadow of the World Trade Center attacks’ 22nd anniversary this September, Hilda Vannata, an experienced and much-valued emergency medical technician, succumbed to her lengthy battle with cancer. Raised in New York City after her birth in Puerto Rico, Vannata devoted 26 years to public service with the fire department’s Battalion 14-Lincoln Hospital after her appointment in 1988.

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Within the same week, retired firefighter Robert Fulco tragically lost his own fight against the lung disease, pulmonary fibrosis. Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh acknowledged the brutal toll the numbers were taking on their department. “343 of our heroes were lost in one day, and now 343 more have been claimed,” stated Kavanagh. “Their memory will forever be ingrained in the fabric of the FDNY. This is our legacy. This is our promise.”

Increasing numbers of World Trade Center-related diseases amongst firefighters and first responders continue to be identified, with an alarming 11,000 firefighters reportedly suffering, including 3,500 diagnosed with various forms of cancer. The toxic remnants of the collapsed buildings have linked these brave individuals to an increased risk of a host of ailments, from cardio and respiratory diseases to cancer.

Commissioner Kavanagh pledged the department’s continued commitment to those who risked their health and lives during the 9/11 events, vowing not to stop advocating for their collective welfare. Over 71,000 individuals, including first responders as well as World Trade Centre employees, residents, onlookers, and early volunteers, are enrolled in the World Trade Center Health Registry to monitor the ongoing health effects of the attacks on those primarily affected.

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