9/11 First Responder Who Saved Several Firefighters Dies From Cancer

DNA Info - January 10, 2011

by Della Hasselle

MANHATTAN - A 9/11 first responder died Sunday from bone-marrow cancer that was linked to the time he spent rescuing victims from Ground Zero, the New York Daily News reported.

Roy Chelsen, a firefighter from Engine 28 in the East Village, died at 58 only a month after receiving a long-needed stem-cell transplant, the News reported.

Several blood drives were organized for Chelsen while he was sick. The firefighter's legacy have an impact on the community because of the sheer number of people who volunteered to become donors, his lawyer and former firefighter told the paper.

"The legacy that he'll leave is opening the door for this blood bank to get massive amounts of people in," Pete Gleason told the News. "It saved lives during his lifetime and it will continue to save lives."

Several firefighters credit Chelsen for saving their lives during 9/11 after the south tower collapsed, including friend and former firefighter Kevin Murray. Chelsen ran to the north tower to warn friends of its imminent collapse.

"We ran out of the north tower because of him," Murray told the News. "He ran back through all the jumpers to grab us and rush us out."

After 9/11, Chelsen spent weeks digging through the rubble, the paper said.

Chelsen's death comes eight days after President Barack Obama signed a $4.3 billion 9/11 bill, which will provide five years of free healthcare and compensation to thousands of sick rescue and recovery workers, along with survivors of the attack.

Chelson died peacefully at his upstate home in Orange County at 6 p.m. surrounded by friends and family, the News reported. He is survived by his wife, Trish, and son Christopher, 24.