The death toll for New York City firemen who worked at Ground Zero in the weeks following the 2001 terrorist attacks has risen to more than 300 after three FDNY members died this past week from diseases connected to 9/11.
On September 11th, 2001, 343 personnel of the Fire Department who were at the World Trade Center were killed.
Gregg Lawrence, 57, a firefighter, passed away on Saturday. He was diagnosed with rectal cancer in March of 2021. Cancer has already metastasized to his bones and liver.
“We simply keep repeating ourselves,” his daughter Ashley Lawrence said. He was the finest parent a child could hope for. Nobody who knows him well can say anything negative about him. You’re the first to make a joke and bring a smile to everyone’s face.
Battalion 51’s South Ozone Park, Queens-based Lawrence resigned in March after nearly 24 years of service.
In June of 2001, he was moved up to the engine, and on September 11 of that year, he was dispatched to the World Trade Center.
“[We’re] devastated,” Ashley Lawrence said. “Really heartbroken. It doesn’t even feel real.”
Lawrence leaves behind his wife Jennifer and three daughters.
Battalion Chief Joseph McKie and Firefighter William Hughes both passed away this week.
McKie, a member of Brooklyn’s Battalion 41 based in East Flatbush, passed away on Sunday. At the end of April 2019, after 31 years of service, he decided to resign from the fire department. In September 2001, he worked as a lieutenant at Engine 284 in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn.
Hughes left the fire department in 2005 after 22 years of service. Before he retired, he worked at Ladder 123 in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.
Sheryl, his wife of 40 years, is all he leaves behind after his death on Friday.
There is a $3 billion shortfall in funding for the World Trade Center Health Program, which provides healthcare for 9/11 first responders and survivors.
It has been warned that the gap would begin impacting services before the end of the year.
According to a statement released last week, a spokesperson for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said that he is “working side by side with first responder unions, building trades, and other worker advocates to secure the money needed to fully fund the program for all future participants and will look to pass it at the earliest opportunity.”
According to Angelo Roefaro, a spokesperson for Senator Chuck Schumer, “Sen. Schumer has long championed getting the money required to provide adequate health care for our 9/11 first responders, many of whom got sick years after their service.”
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