9/11 Responder Hits Lottery Retired New York City firefighter wins $5M By Newser Editors and Wire Services Posted Jul 2, 2015 5:29 PM CDT 9 comments Comments Carmelo Mercado should have a much easier retirement now. (Philip Kamrass) (Newser) – Hard to begrudge this lottery winner: He's a retired firefighter who responded to the World Trade Center on 9/11. Carmelo Mercado won $5 million on a lottery scratch-off ticket, and the 63-year-old will get $3.3 million in a lump-sum payment after taxes are taken out. Mercado was among the members of Queens Battalion 49 who went to the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. He now lives in Orange County, north of New York City. He was at a Queens store in May when he decided to play the Cash X100 game. His first ticket didn't get him anything, so he decided to buy another, which was the winning ticket. "I was in shock when I realized I won," Mercado said. "It's a blessing." He said he already has a list of ideas for what to do with the money, including a vacation home.