West Haven Firefighters urge extension of September 11th funds

WEST HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — 9/11 first responders from West Haven and throughout the state are fighting to keep the World Trade Center Health Program from expiring.

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, “People may not realize the fire fighters and first responders that rushed to ground zero exposed themselves to toxins and carcinogens in the rubble and the smoking debris that has caused more than 400 from Connecticut to have serious grave health problems.”

The World Trade Center Health Program gives medical treatment to over 33,000 first responders and survivors who have September 11th related illnesses but support will end in October. Senator Blumenthal says the health program is a matter of simple justice. Blumenthal said, “Thousands from around the country and Connecticut rushed in waves to ground zero risking their lives and their health and now we are denying them the most meager kind of assistance from health care.”

There are over 380 first responders in the state benefiting from the program. Some of those responders are from The West Haven fire department. They sent thirty firefighters to ground zero fourteen years ago. Chief James O’Brien with the West Haven Fire Department added, “I think when they set up the fund they set it up for 15 years not knowing what to expect. I think the data that is coming out of this and 15 years later looking back at it we can certainly make a strong case that this needs to continue. It needs to continue without a timeline. I think the timeline should be when the work there has been taken care of.”

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