Deaths Of 9/11 Front-Liners Renew Talk Of Aid Bill

NY Daily News - October 13, 2009

by Adam Lisberg and Stephanie Gaskell

The deaths of three 9/11 first responders in the past week is enough proof for Mayor Bloomberg that people are getting sick from working at Ground Zero.

"Probably - nobody's sure - but probably contracted during breathing the air down at the World Trade Center site," the mayor said yesterday after the Daily News reported that two cops and a firefighter recently died of cancer.

NYPD Officer Robert Grossman died of cancer Friday at the age of 44. The next day, Firefighter Richard Mannetta, 44, died of cancer. And last Wednesday, 37-year-old Police Officer Cory Diaz also died of cancer. Firefighter John McNamara, 44, died of cancer last month.

Doctors haven't officially linked the illnesses of dozens of first responders to the toxins at the World Trade Center site, but Bloomberg said the federal government needs to help pay for their medical care.

The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act - named after an NYPD detective who died of post-9/11 ailments - would provide $10 billion, but has been sitting in Congress for years.

Bloomberg said time is running out.

"I think that it's just another reminder that we've just got to get Congress to pass the [bill] that would give us the money," he said.