FDNY firefighter Richard Driscoll died on Wednesday, becoming the 200th New York firefighter to pass away from a 9/11-related illness just as the Senate was attempting to agree on an extension of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.
Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro issued a statement calling the deaths of Driscoll and his fellow FDNY firefighters “almost incomprehensible.”
“It is almost incomprehensible that, after losing 343 members on September 11, we have now had 200 more FDNY members die from World Trade Center illnesses,” he lamented. “These heroes gave their lives bravely fighting to rescue and recover others. We will never forget them.”
New York mayor Bill de Blasio extended his sympathies on Twitter and called on the Senate to “fully fund” the Victim Compensation Fund.
“Rest in peace, firefighters Richard Driscoll and Kevin Nolan,” de Blasio wrote. “200 members of the FDNY have now succumbed to WTC-related illness. They didn’t hesitate to run into danger. They stayed until the work was done.”
The House passed bipartisan legislation earlier this month to extend the Victim Compensation Fund by a 402–12 vote. Passage in the Senate has been more difficult, as some Republicans have argued that other costs should be cut in order to fund the program, but Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has thrown his support behind the fund.
“The first responders who rushed into danger on September 11th, 2001, are the very definition of American heroes and patriots. The Senate has never forgotten the Victim Compensation Fund and we aren’t about to start now. Nothing about our shared goal to provide for these heroes is remotely partisan,” McConnell said.