FDNY Mourns 343rd Member’s Loss to 9/11-Related Illness, Mirroring Attack Fatalities


In a moment of stark symmetry, the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) mourns the loss of its 343rd member to a 9/11-related illness. This figure tragically mirrors the exact number of departmental fatalities on the fateful day of the terrorist attacks, September 11, 2001.

A somber announcement shared by the FDNY on social media disclosed the losses of two more of its members in September. These tragic deaths occurred only a short time after the 22nd anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks.

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Hilda Vannata, an FDNY emergency medical technician, passed away on September 20 due to cancer. Born in Puerto Rico and subsequently a New Yorker, Vannata dedicated 26 years of her life to the FDNY, distinguishing herself within Battalion 14-Lincoln Hospital.

Retired firefighter Robert Fulco’s life was claimed by pulmonary fibrosis. His passing marked the second FDNY loss in the same week. Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh acknowledged the painful reality of these losses, expressing deep sorrow and ensuring the department’s continued remembrance of their fallen comrades.

Placing these losses in grim context, Commissioner Kavanagh noted an alarming rise in diseases linked with the World Trade Center rescue operations. There are now 11,000 firefighters suffering from related diseases, with cancer afflicting 3,500 of them.

Underscoring her commitment to honor their sacrifice, Kavanagh pledged continued advocacy for survivors and promised unceasing efforts to ensure all members receive the necessary care for the rest of their lives. Currently, more than 71,000 individuals are enrolled in the World Trade Center Health Registry, tracking the health of first responders and other parties in the vicinity of the attacks at the time.

Not only first responders but also people working, living, or passing by the World Trade Center have experienced adverse health effects post the attacks. Ground zero volunteers in the weeks subsequent to the attacks, too, bear the lasting imprints of exposure.

As we stand in remembrance of the brave, we also want to remind you that life goes on, filled with opportunities to create joyous moments even amid sorrows. On that note, if you’re looking to unwind, our Canadian readers can explore the world of online casinos right here on West Island Blog. With an assortment of the top online casinos for this month at your disposal, seize the moment to escape into a world of chance and excitement.