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Number of post 9/11 first responder deaths expected to exceed number who lost their lives that day

First responder deaths from post-9/11 illnesses nearly equal the number of firefighters who died that day. The data suggests it will surpass that number.

WASHINGTON, D.C.  – Monday, Sept. 11 is the 22nd anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C.

In the attack on the World Trade Center, more than 300 firefighters lost their lives. People are still seeing the devastating impact of those attacks.

New data reveals that nearly the same number of first responders have died of 9/11-related illnesses as those who lost their lives on that tragic day.

“I think we just miss him. He was just always present in everything we did,” Jim Brosi said of his father, Lt. Joe Brosi.

He said not a day has gone by when he has not thought about him.

“if you were speaking to him, you were the only person in the world he was talking to, and he was good as they come,” Jim Brosi said.

A veteran of the New York City Fire Department for more than three decades, Joe Brosi died Feb. 3 of this year after a long battle with Stage 4 lung cancer.

Doctors gave him months to live after his diagnosis in 2015.

He gave a moving interview to the FDNY in 2019: “I believe nothing is impossible; it just hasn’t been done yet. You have to believe you’re going to beat it. If you believe, it will happen.”

Joe Brosi’s name was one of 43 added to the FDNY World Trade Center memorial wall last week, which commemorates firefighters, paramedics and civilian support staff who died from post 9/11 illnesses.

It’s the second-largest group added to the memorial since it was created in 2011, when 55 names were added.

The number of lives lost from post-9/11 illnesses on the wall stands at 341, almost equaling the 343 FDNY firefighters killed that day.

“That number has grown each year, and my fear is it will continue to grow,” Jim Brosi said.

He said his father was at ground zero on 9/11 and remained working there day in and day out.

So, too, was New York City firefighter Daniel Foley. He pledged to stay at the site until his older brother, Thomas, also a city firefighter, was found.

Foley ended up finding his brother’s body 11 days later. He continued to help with recovery efforts for months.

He died from pancreatic cancer in 2020 at age 46.

“He was diagnosed with 9/11 cancer, and we talk about the fact that 9/11 not only killed Uncle Tommy but 20 years later killed daddy,” Carrie Foley said.

The message from firefighters and their families, years after one of the darkest days in U.S. history: First responders are still suffering and dying because of their service.

“The other thing is, it’s the people who aren’t dying but are sick. And they’re not living but they’re alive. And no one measures that loss,” Jim Brosi said.

Both Jim Brosi and his brother Joe Brosi are New York City firefighters who were also there on 9/11 working alongside their father.

“We’ll say … I monitor my health very closely. I will not live my life in worry,” Jim Brosi said.

Exposure to the dust at the World Trade Center has been tied to heightened risk of cardiovascular disease among firefighters who responded to the scene.

Respiratory disease and thousands of cancer diagnoses have been linked to the toxic pollutants released during the attacks.

In addition to first responders, the attacks have left others with lasting health impacts.

That includes people who worked at the World Trade Center, passersby, residents of surrounding buildings and volunteers who spent time at ground zero in the weeks after.


Rapid City, US
3:15 am, September 25, 2023
scattered clouds
Wind: 9 mph
Pressure: 1020 mb
Visibility: 10 km
Sunrise: 6:43 am
Sunset: 6:46 pm
Avery Fogelman

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