Brian J Masterson died this week from cancer caused by fumes from Ground Zero
Brian J Masterson was among the thousands of emergency services personnel to rush to the scene when planes flew into the two World Trade Center towers on September 11, 2001.
The 61-year-old died on Monday after being diagnosed with oesophageal cancer two years ago as a result of working tirelessly on the site for months after the attack with the New York City Fire Department (FDNY).
His funeral was held yesterday at his home in Walden, New York, although most of his family still considers their home to be Lissavaddy, Co Longford in central Ireland where he was born.
The number of firefighters and other first responders being diagnosed with cancer as a direct result of working so many days at the site of the twin towers has been constantly growing to this very day
Christopher Ferry, Brian Masterson's nephew
The father-of-three is one of many first responders who have been diagnosed with cancer because of working at the site.
Last Sunday, another New York City firefighter, Kevin Rooney died aged 38 after working at Ground Zero alongside Mr Masterson.
Christopher Ferry, Brian’s nephew, told the Longford Leader: “Unfortunately, my uncle Brian was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer two years ago as a result.
124 firefighters have now died from toxic fumes inhaled while working on Ground Zero
“The number of firefighters and other first responders being diagnosed with cancer as a direct result of working so many days at the site of the twin towers has been constantly growing to this very day.
“My uncle fought very hard for two years overcoming the odds, and died on Sunday night with his family by his side.”
He added Mr Masterson was a keen golfer and runner, having run the New York City Marathon several times.
The brave firefighter retired from Marine Company 9 in 2015 and had worked in Ladder 45 in Manhattan from 1990 to 2009.
He and Mr Rooney were working for Engine Company 42 in the Bronx when the two hijacked planes struck the Twin Towers.
They worked at the site as part of the rescue and recovery efforts for “many weeks and months” in 2001.
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Claudia E. Thomas, founder of the 9/11 Rescue Workers and Friends Forum Group, said Mr Masterson was “the captain of his soul and the hearts of those who knew him”.
She said: “His life was dedicated to the job he loved and started out back in 1990 and survived several life threatening emergencies.
“But such is the metal of one like Brian, who passed January 22, 2017, from related cancer, age 61.
“‘Fair winds and following seas' brother!’”
Brian Masterson was Irish but was working and living in New York when 9/11 happened
Thousands of firefighters were involved in the rescue attempt at Ground Zero
James Slevin, President of the Unified Fire Authority, confirmed 124 firefighters have now died ‘due to 9/11-related illnesses’.
Fellow New York firefighters have been invited to attend his wake on Wednesday and Thursday in Walden.
A spokesman for the Uniformed Firefighters Association of Greater New York said: “This week we mourn the deaths of two of New York City's firefighters.
“One passed on Sunday, January 22 and the other on Monday, January 23 due to the results of cancer caused by their service at the World Trade Center site following the 9/11 attacks.
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“The deaths of Ret. FF. Brian Masterson and FF. Kevin Rooney are unfortunate reminders that New York City Firefighters and other first responders continue to suffer from the aftermaths of 9/11.
“More than 15 years after the tragic event, 124 firefighters and fire officers have passed away due to 9-11-related illnesses.
“On behalf of the UFA Executive Board and the entire union membership, we extend our sincerest condolences to their families and to those they served with.
“New York City and the country will never forget the sacrifices that Kevin and Brian and many more of our brave firefighters have made.”