(UnitedVoice.com) – In March 2002, officials with the Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY) commissioned McKinsey & Company, one of the country’s most prestigious management consultancies, to conduct a five-month study of the department’s response to the tragic attack on the World Trade Center (WTC) on September 11, 2001.
The resulting 133-page report advised that FDNY personnel “facilitated the safe evacuation of [over] 25,000 people,” making it the largest rescue effort in US history. It also confirmed that 343 FDNY workers “sacrificed their lives” in the aftermath of that horrific terrorist attack “while trying to save others.”
Sadly, a recent statement released by FDNY Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh revealed that post-9/11 deaths among FDNY personnel hit a staggering new high.
Post 9/11 Deaths Reach Somber Milestone
On September 23, Commissioner Kavanagh issued a statement on her X, formerly known as Twitter, account announcing the death of two additional FDNY members due to World Trade Center-related illnesses. Sadly, they were the 342nd and 343rd deaths recorded since the 9/11 attacks. She reported that since marking the 22nd anniversary of that fateful day, their deaths mean the department has now endured the same number of deaths as those experienced that fateful day.
Since marking the 22nd anniversary of the WTC attacks earlier this month we have experienced the loss of 2 more FDNY members due to WTC illnesses, our 342 and 343 deaths. With these deaths, we have now suffered the same number of deaths post Sept. 11th as we experienced that day. pic.twitter.com/7XI1dwVRRc
— Commissioner Laura Kavanagh (@FDNYFC) September 23, 2023
Kavanagh noted that city officials and FDNY personnel had “long known this day was coming.” However, she said the revelation that the department had now experienced the same number of deaths as it did 22 years ago remained “astounding,” nevertheless.
The commissioner reported that emergency medical technician Hilda Vannata died on September 20 after a long battle with cancer. She also confirmed that retired firefighter Robert Fulco succumbed to pulmonary fibrosis three days later. Kavanaugh confirmed that both FDNY heroes suffered from their respective medical afflictions due to the time they spent working to save others at the WTC site.
This past weekend, FF Robert Fulco of E250 in Brooklyn became the 343rd member of the department to succumb to WTC Illness.
343 members of the department were murdered by terrorists on 9/11/01 but now with the passing of Firefighter Fulco the number has equaled since then. pic.twitter.com/z7crSDgAhB
— FDNY UFA (@UFANYC) September 25, 2023
Kavanaugh stressed that the FDNY’s responsibilities to its personnel “extends far beyond” what the department asked of them on 9/11 and during the days and weeks of rescue and recovery efforts that followed the attack on the WTC.
Kavanaugh explained that the toll of the life-threatening illness on the department’s first responders “continues to grow.” The problem involved more than the 343 FDNY workers who have died. It also includes the 11,000 remaining members of the department suffering from “WTC-related illnesses, including 3,500 [battling] cancer.”
Kavanaugh reminded readers that the FDNY’s “commitment” to the “service and sacrifice” of the 9/11 heroes “must remain unshakeable.” She concluded her remarks by writing that the department would never forget the 343 heroes it lost in 2001 or the 343 who died since. “This is our legacy,” she wrote, adding, “This is our promise.”
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