9/11 first responders crop

Frank Becerra Jr.The Journal News

First-Responders Dying Of 9/11-Related Illnesses At An Alarming Rate

January 01, 2019 - 11:50 am

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – More and more first responders are suffering from and succumbing to 9/11-related illnesses, setting up another fight to secure more federal money.

The number of first responders dying is staggering, advocate John Feal says. He keeps track of the numbers each year, but the past few months alone have seen an alarming number of deaths.

“Last year, it was 163. The year before that it was 156. Since September to Dec. 31, we’ve lost 40 people.”

Feal says someone is lost to a 9/11-related illness every 2.7 days on average, and he expects those deaths to happen more frequently as first responders get older.

“It gets harder for these men and women in uniform and non-uniform to continue on. They become more susceptible to all of these illnesses,” he said.

All of this comes as the compensation part of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act is quickly running out of money.

“We’ve been in D.C. already. We’re going to start again in a couple weeks in January,” Feal said. “We’ll be back there on the Hill. We’re going to get this bill renewed and refunded.”

Feal says he wants the renewal to be permanent this time.

“We don’t want to keep coming back,” he said. “I’d rather be done with Congress and not see them again.”