Cancer kills 3 heroes

NEW YORK – Three firefighters who were on duty at Ground Zero during the 9/11 attacks have died on the same day from cancer, fire officials have said.

Lieutenant Howard Bischoff, 58, and firefighters Robert Leaver, 56, and Daniel Heglund, 58, died within hours of one another on Monday.

Thousands of people who helped the 9/11 rescue efforts have been diagnosed with illness, including cancer.

But doctors say it is unclear whether sickness can be linked to the attacks.

Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro described the three men’s deaths as a “painful reminder that 13 years later we continue to pay a terrible price for the department’s heroic efforts”.

“On that day when first responders arrived, the air was toxic and remained toxic for many months afterward,” said the president of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association, James Lemonda.

About 1000 deaths have been linked to illnesses caused by toxic dust issuing from wreckage at Ground Zero.

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