Cuomo Signs Bill for 9/11 First Responders

Eligible first responders will get 100 percent of their pay dating back to the time of their diagnosis. 

"Many people just think innocent lives were lost that day and two buildings came down. but the sad fact is, tens and thousands of people got sick," John Feal, 9/11 First Responder, Advocate, and Founder of the FealGood Foundation, said. 

Utica Fire Chief Russell Brooks called John Feal to see how this bill may effect him. Brooks attributes his cancer to his efforts on 9/11.

"i got a document from the world trade center that says my issues are from working there," Brooks said.

Brooks is battling the City of Utica after being put on paid, indeterminate, nondisciplinary leave back in May. He said a state fire official told him about the legislation this morning.

"He also said that when this bill was being signed that my case was brought up and mentioned as part of it," Brooks said. 

The requirements of the legislation specify that you must currently be working for a municipality outside of New York City, have filed a notice of participation in the World Trade Center cleanup, and have a qualifying World Trade Center Health Condition.

But it's not this bill Brooks feels proves his point.

"Even prior to that there was a presumption law and the law was that if you had cancer and you worked at 9/11 you worked at the Trade Center on those dates it was presumed that you got it from there," Brooks said.

And while he doesn't feel this bill can help or hurt him, he hopes it supports other first responders who are in fear of coming forward. 

"I'm very concerned about some of the younger firefighters, a couple in particular, that worked at Ground Zero that have had cancer--Cancer that is unheard of in young people," Brooks said.

The Utica City Corporation Counsel will be discussing the bill tomorrow and WUTR will be following up with them. 

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