NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — A retired FDNY firefighter who labored at Ground Zero in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks has died, making him the 200th member of the department to succumb to World Trade Center-related illness.
“It is almost incomprehensible that after losing 343 members on September 11, we have now had 200 more FDNY members die due to World Trade Center illness. These heroes gave their lives bravely fighting to rescue and recover others. We will never forget them,” Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said in a statement.
Officials on Thursday announced that Firefighter Richard Driscoll died Wednesday after a lengthy battle with a 9/11-related illness.
The Monroe resident and Vietnam veteran retired from East Harlem’s engine 91 in 2002 after serving with the department for 32 years. He was 73.
Mayor Bill de Blasio confirmed the news Thursday in a Tweet honoring Driscoll and another recently deceased FDNY firefighter, Kevin Nolan.
“200 members of the FDNY have now succumbed to WTC-related illness. They didn’t hesitate to run into danger. They stayed until the work was done,” the mayor wrote.
Nolan joined the FDNY in 1989 at Engine 39 on the Upper East Side, according to the Uniformed Firefighters Association. His last assignment was at Engine 79 in the Bronx before he retired in 2007.
Officials say he was part of the rescue and recovery efforts at Ground Zero.
He became the 199th member of the FDNY to die from 9/11-related illness on Wednesday morning. He was 58.
The mayor pointed to the fallen heroes and urged the Senate to immediately pass a bill that would replenish and make permanent the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund.
The deaths came on the same day that Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul rejected a bid for a unanimous consent agreement in the Senate and Utah Sen. Mike Lee placed a procedural hold on the bill.
“The Senate MUST fully fund the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund,” Mayor de Blasio wrote Thursday.
Both Paul and Lee have raised concerns over the amount of spending needed to replenish and make permanent the fund for at least another 70 years.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said the bill will come up for a vote in August.