By Tim Harfmann
The toxic cloud and deadly dust of September 11, 2001, still impacts first responders today.
More and more heroes are being laid to rest after years of suffering from post-9/11 illnesses.
Father Brian Jordan, a Manhattan priest and first responder himself, said the worst is yet to come.
“Within the next five years it’s predicted, and I believe it’s going to be an accurate prediction: more people have died from toxins due to exposure at 9/11 than those who died the actual day,” said Father Jordan.
Since the 2001 attack, about 10,000 first responders and victims have been diagnosed with cancer, and at least 2,000 deaths are attributed to 9/11-related illnesses. The risk of some cancers among first responders is 30 percent higher than the general population.
“It’s very sad to see them sort of deteriorate gradually throughout the years, and it’s very painful,” said Father Jordan, who has presided over at least 20 funerals so far.
Father Jordan spent nine months in Lower Manhattan, consoling first responders and their families. He said to his knowledge, he hasn’t been affected by the toxins.
“To be honest with you, I’m a little bit surprised that I haven’t. Many others have, and I guess I was spared,” said
Others, like John Feal, haven’t been so lucky. He’s one of many first responders who appeared before Congress, fighting to get funding for the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund.
“These men and women uniform and non-uniform, the children of Lower Manhattan are sick and dying, and there are families being left in financial ruins,” said Feal.
“We’re all the people of God, and we’re all fragile, all vulnerable and realize that we’re human beings. We’re not robots or machines and the idea of care and concern, showing charity and love to them, will make all the difference in the world for those who are suffering at the present time,” said Father Jordan.