Retired New York City firefighter who worked on Ground Zero after 9/11 dies of cancer related to the terror attacks

Kevin Nolan, 58, passed away this week and he is the 199th member of the force to die of an illness induced by work at Ground Zero after the 9/11 attacks


                            Retired New York City firefighter who worked on Ground Zero after 9/11 dies of cancer related to the terror attacks

A retired New York City firefighter, who was part of the rescue and recovery at Ground Zero in the days following the attack on the twin towers of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, has died from an illness sustained during his heroic efforts.

Kevin Nolan, 58, passed away this past Tuesday, July 16, and joins an evergrowing list of Fire Department of New York (FDNY) firefighters to die from a Ground Zero-related sickness, according to the New York Daily News.

The Uniformed Firefighters Association of Greater New York confirmed his death, writing on Facebook, "It is with regret we announce the WTC Related Death of Retired Firefighter Kevin J. Nolan Engine Company 79."

"Our condolences go out to his family for the loss of this member," said Gerald Fitzgerald, president of the UFA. "He is another lost victim of 9/11 and he will be missed."

Nolan had joined FDNY in 1989 and started his career at Engine 39 on the Upper East Side before moving to Engine Company 79 in the Bronx, which would prove to be his last and most fateful assignment.

Speaking about his death, Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said, "Kevin is the 199th member of the FDNY to die of World Trade Center-related illness. So many years later, we continue to lose those who displayed such incredible bravery on that terrible day, and in the weeks that followed."

Alvarez passed away before he could see the 'Never Forget the Heroes Act' (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

Nolan's death comes just weeks after that of retired NYPD detective Luis Alvarez, who hit headlines after he sat alongside comedian-activist Jon Stewart and received a standing ovation when he testified in front of the Congress in support of reauthorizing the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. 

Alvarez had worked to comb rooftops for victims following the collapse of the towers, and as a direct result of his work, was diagnosed with advanced-stage colorectal cancer in 2016.

His heartwrenching testimony ensured that the 'Never Forget The Heroes Act' unanimously passed through the House Judiciary Committee. But he would not live to see it become law, and neither would Nolan.

This past week, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky) blocked an attempt to pass the bill, which is expected to cost $10.2 billion over the next decade and would permanently reauthorize the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund and supply it with money through the fiscal year 2090.

Paul argued that passing such a long-term bill without offsetting the cost would contribute to the already-substantial national debt and said that "any new program that's going to have the longevity of 70, 80 years, should be offset by cutting spending that's less valuable."

Fitzgerald did not take Paul's suggestion too kindly. "We let their offices know that we have a wake on Friday and a funeral on Saturday," he said. "Others of our members are in hospice care, and still others in a terminal stage of cancer. We deal with this all the time. They are playing politics and playing games. It’s a lot of silliness."

Nolan's wake will be held on Friday, July 19, between 4 and 8 pm at the Coxe and Graziano Funeral Home on 767 E. Boston Post Road. His funeral will take place the next day at 10:30 am at the Church of The Resurrection at 910 Boston Post Road.

He is survived by three children and his wife. 

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