9/11-related illnesses continue to take staggering toll on NYPD, FDNY

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- The September 11th terror attack on the World Trade Center has now killed more than 10 times as many police officers in the 18 years since the attack itself killed 23 members of the NYPD.

Officials say 241 members of the NYPD have now died of 9/11-related illnesses.

"The unfortunate part is that number continues to grow," Deputy Commissioner Robert Ganley told ABC News. "It's heartbreaking. It's very said. It's sad for the department. It's sad for the families left behind."

The last 18 years have been just as devastating for the fire department.

Officials say 22 members of the FDNY have died of 9/11-related illnesses just since the last anniversary. Their names were added Friday to the FDNY World Trade Center Memorial Wall, which has an inscription reading, "Dedicated to the memory of those who bravely served this department protecting life and property in the City of New York in the rescue and recovery effort at Manhattan box 5-5-8087 World Trade Center."

Those who were added to the memorial wall are:
Firefighter Anthony Alese Engine, Company 9
Doctor Michael G. Guttenberg, Bureau of Health Services
Captain Victor C. Valva, Engine Company 167
Firefighter Brent G. Crobak, Engine Company 251
Firefighter Charles Williams, Ladder Company 111
Battalion Chief Robert P. Miuccio, battalion 22
Firefighter Michael T. McDonald, Ladder Company 128
Firefighter Jimmy Martinez, Engine Company 157
Firefighter Dennis G. Heaney, Ladder Company 157
Firefighter John R. Elges, Ladder Company 134
EMT Felipe A. Torre, Bureau of Training
Paramedic Martha Stewart, EMS Station 8
EMT Joseph A. Rodriguez, EMS Station 58
Firefighter Daniel C. Bove, Engine Company 251
Captain John S. Moschella, Engine Company 26
Firefighter Richard H. Meehan, Battalion 06
Lieutenant Timothy P. O'Neill, Ladder Company 5
Firefighter Kevin E. Lennon, Ladder Company 175
Lieutenant John T. Moran, Ladder Company 41
Firefighter Lloyd W. Stuart, Engine Company 3
Firefighter Kevin J. Nolan, Engine Company 79
Firefighter Richard N. Driscoll, Engine Company 91

"This solemn wall is a poignant and permanent reminder of the sacrifice of all that responded on September 11th and toiled for weeks and months at the World Trade Center searching for the innocent lives taken that day," Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said. "Because of their dedication and bravery, each year the already staggering loss suffered by the FDNY continues to grow as illnesses claimed the lives of those who so bravely served our city."

To date, 202 FDNY members have died of illnesses related to their service on 9/11 or in the immediate aftermath.

The most common killer of 9/11 first responders has been cancer, but for the first time, researchers are linking high exposure to 9/11 World Trade Center dust with the long-term risk of cardiovascular disease.

Firefighters who were first on the scene were 44% more likely to develop cardiovascular disease than firefighters who arrived the next day, according to a new study published Friday in the Journal of the American Medical Association by Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University.

"The increase in risk was significant, even taking into account known CVD risk factors such as age, hypertension, elevated cholesterol, diabetes, and smoking," said study leader Dr. David J. Prezant, a professor of medicine at Einstein and chief medical officer of the FDNY.

The length of time that firefighters worked at the disaster site, more vs less than 6 months, was also linked to higher rates of cardiovascular disease. Those who worked on the pile for six months or more were 30% more likely to have experienced a heart attack or stroke.

The findings, while not conclusive, show cardiovascular conditions should be added to the list of 9/11 diseases covered under a federal law that provides compensation to first responders, Prezant said.

----------
* More New York City news
* Send us a news tip
* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts
* Follow us on YouTube
Copyright © 2019 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.