The aftermath of the 2001 terror attack at the World Trade Center has hit a grisly milestone: The number of FDNY members who have died of a 9/11-related illness officially reached 200, the department said Thursday.
Retired Firefighter Richard Driscoll, who died in New York Wednesday, became the 200th Fire Department member to die from inhaling the toxins swirling around the Twin Towers nearly 18 years ago, the FDNY said.
“It is almost incomprehensible that after losing 343 members on Sept. 11, we have now had 200 more FDNY members die due to World Trade Center illness,” FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said. “These heroes gave their lives bravely fighting to rescue and recover others. We will never forget them.”
Driscoll, a Vietnam veteran, retired from Engine 91 in East Harlem in 2002 after serving the department for 32 years.
On Sept. 11, 2001, he responded to Ground Zero and “worked tirelessly in the rescue and recovery efforts that followed,” the FDNY said.
Driscoll was cited for bravery five times during his FDNY career, officials said.
His death occurred a day after retired FDNY Firefighter Kevin Nolan died of a 9/11-related illness on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, 9/11 survivor advocates were in Washington, D.C., fighting Sen. Rand Paul’s plan to block an extension of the federal Victims Compensation Fund, which provides financial support to first responders and residents sickened by the toxic dust kicked up in lower Manhattan following the terror attacks.
Paul said that the bill to pump an additional $10 billion into the VCF, which has already passed the House of Representatives, was too costly and that any new spending should be offset by other cuts.
Senate Democrats slammed the move as “political game playing.”
According to the best estimates, 90,000 first responders from the city and across the country showed up at Ground Zero in the aftermath of the attack, while an additional 400,000 survivors lived and worked in the area at the time. All of these people have the potential to come down with a 9/11 illness, advocates said.