New York City's fire department got a rough reminder this week of the 9/11 attacks and their aftermath—three retired firefighters in their 50s died on the same day from illnesses attributed to the toxic air at Ground Zero, reports CBS Local. Daniel Heglund, 58, Howard Bischoff, 58, and Robert Leaver, 56, died Monday of different cancers, bringing to 92 the number of firefighters who have died from illnesses linked to the attacks, reports AP. Almost every first responder who searched for survivors at the World Trade Center reported at least one respiratory illness afterward.
"On that day when first responders arrived, the air was toxic and remained toxic for many months afterward," says Jake Lemonda, president of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association. He says more than 850 firefighters or fire officers have been diagnosed with illnesses linked to 9/11. It turns out that Leaver and Bischoff grew up together in Brooklyn and were lifelong best friends, reports the Daily News. The three names will be added to the memorial wall of FDNY members who died because of the attacks.