A hero fireman, who battled to get to survivors of the 9/11 terror attack has become the 124th emergency services officer to die after breathing in toxic air at Ground Zero.

Sixty one year old Brian J Masterson, who had moved to New York from County Longford in Ireland, was one of the New York City Fire Department personnel who rushed to the scene of the horror attack. He was one of the first to reach the site after terrorists deliberately crashed two aircraft into the Twin Towers which stood in Manhattan.

Following the incident, Mr Masterson developed esophageal cancer, like many of those who breathed in dust and toxic air while working at the scene on the day of the attack and in the days and months which followed. Before his diagnosis, he had been fit and healthy, and a keen marathon runner.

Second death in the space of two days

His death came a day after that of fellow New York City firefighter Kevin Rooney, who passed away at the age of just 38 after working at Ground Zero.

Mr Masterson’s nephew Christopher Ferry said that his uncle had been diagnosed with cancer two years ago as a result of working at the Twin Towers site. He battled hard against the disease, but died surrounded by his loved ones. He had recently retired from the force.

Claudia E Thomas, who founded the 9/11 Rescue Workers and Friends Forum Group described him as “the Captain of his soul and the hearts of those who knew him”. ¬†She said he had dedicated his life to doing the job he loved, saving others. He is survived by his wife, three children and a granddaughter.

A spokesperson for the Uniformed Firefighters Association of Greater New York said that the sacrifices that Mr Rooney and Mr Masterson made would never be forgotten.

 

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