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FDNY reaches 343 deaths from 9/11-related illnesses

22 years after the terror attacks, the number of the dead related to their exposure while working in the rescue and recovery efforts equals the number killed in the collapses


Firefighter (ret.) Robert Fulco (left) and EMT (ret.) Hilda Vannata (right). (Photos/New York City Fire Department)

By Kayla Simas
Staten Island Advance

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — On Sept. 11, 2001, 343 members of the FDNY perished in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.

Now, the number of FDNY members who have died of 9/11-related illnesses since that day matches that grim total, Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh said.

Since the 22nd anniversary of Sept. 11, two more FDNY members have died — EMT Hilda Vannata and retired firefighter Robert Fulco — marking the 342nd and 343rd deaths since the attacks. Vannata died of 9/11-related cancer while Fulco died of pulmonary fibrosis, both of which were a result of the time they spent working in the rescue and recovery efforts at Ground Zero.

“We have long known this day was coming, yet its reality is astounding just the same,” said Kavanagh. “With these deaths, we have reached a somber, remarkable milestone. We have now suffered the same number of deaths post [9/11] as we experienced that day when the North and South Towers fell.”

Kavanagh added that there are at least 11,000 who suffer from 9/11-related diseases daily, including 3,500 with cancer.

“Our commitment to their service and sacrifice must remain as unshakeable for the next two decades as it has been for the last two,” she said. “So many of our members showed up for us that fateful day, and so many were lost. The legacy we create for them is one of honor and one of promise. That is why we continue to advocate for the survivors, and we will not stop pushing until all our members have the care they deserve, for the rest of their lives.”

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