The New York Daily News reports that
As the Post says, this may be the first such finding, but it won't be the last. Already we have the case of former NYPD Officer Robert Williams, a cancer victim who, since participating in the rescue attempts and cleanup at Ground Zero, has lost "his pancreas, spleen, gall bladder, most of his stomach and parts of his intestines and and a lung. " According to the Post, chemotherapy is no longer working for Williams.
Zadroga was inside 7 World Trade Center as the building began to collapse on 9/11.
He survived the disaster, and like many other cops and civil servants, was called on to return to the site to help search for victims' remains.
Zadroga spent more than 450 hours at Ground Zero, digging through debris and inhaling the noxious gases that are believed to be related to death.
"On Sept. 11, 2001, James Zadroga was a 29-year-old healthy human being," [president of the Detectives' Endowment Association Michael] Palladino said.
But after his work at the 9/11 site, the nonsmoker's health "began to deteriorate rapidly," Palladino added.
Zadroga developed respiratory ailments, had difficulty breathing and was found to have fiberglass in his lungs, Palladino said.
The cop retired on a disability on Nov. 1, 2004. The 34-year-old widower died at his parents home in Little Egg Harbor, N.J., just over 14 months later.
Here's his story:
The veteran cop had just finished a night shift at 7 a.m. on Sept. 11, 2001, and had gotten a couple of hours sleep when his wife woke him and told him of the terror attacks.
His two daughters, now 11 and 9, wept as he got dressed and headed back to work. "Daddy, don't go," they implored.
"I said, 'It's OK. Daddy is going to go and help people. Don't worry.'"
He wasn't on the scene when the Twin Towers collapsed, but had to run for his life when WTC 7 collapsed.
Over the next five weeks, he put in 16-hour days digging through the debris for survivors and evidence. Most of the time, he had just a paper mask.
"The EPA said the air was safe, but common sense told you it was not," he said.
The EPA has a lot to answer for. All New Yorkers knew in their gut that the air around the rubble was toxic, despite the repeated assurances of the bureaucrats who, as always, somehow managed to be far from the front lines. Somebody needs to pay for this, and I don't mean with a reassignment or demotion.
In the mean time, Officer Zadroga should be immediately put on the list of those who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks of 9/11. He deserves to be remembered as a hero of that day, and needs to be added to the tab that's been run up by Al Qaeda.