ALBANY — Two firefighters from Nassau County who died of 9/11-related illnesses are among the 118 new names etched onto to the New York State Fallen Firefighters Memorial at the Empire State Plaza.
The names of Richard A. Dellacona, 60, of the Westbury Fire Department, who died Sept. 3, 2012, and Danny Levy of the Plainview Fire Department, who died Jan. 7, 2013, were added to the memorial Tuesday, state officials said.
The names of 112 New York City firefighters who died of illnesses after spending time working in the rubble of the World Trade Center after the Sept. 11 attacks made up the majority of the names.
Thousands of people who participated in the rescue and recovery operations at the World Trade Center have been diagnosed with illnesses that their doctors or families suspect are linked to toxins in the smoke and ash at the lower Manhattan site.
Research continues into the long-term health impact on people exposed to sooty air at Ground Zero.
“We still have many of our members dealing with illnesses as a result of their response and work at Ground Zero,” said James Long, an FDNY spokesman. The New York Police Department and FDNY also have memorials for personnel who have died of illnesses since Sept. 11, 2001.
It wasn’t clear from FDNY officials why the 112 firefighters were added now to the 19-year-old memorial. The names include FDNY firefighters who died as far back as 2003 and others who died as recently as this past April.
Kristin Devoe, a spokeswoman for the state agency that determines whose names are placed on the memorial, said this year was the first time the FDNY had applied to include firefighters who died of illnesses after working at Ground Zero.
The 112 FDNY firefighters whose deaths were blamed on post-9/11 illnesses met the agency’s selection criteria for inclusion on the memorial, she said. Several busloads of FDNY members attended the ceremony along with scores of professional and volunteer firefighters from across the state.
In addition to the two from Long Island, other firefighters added to the memorial include three from upstate and a New York City battalion chief killed in a building explosion in 2016.
The names of more than 2,500 fallen firefighters now grace the 54-foot-by-15-foot-high granite memorial, dedicated in October 1998. The earliest name on the wall is from 1811.
In October 2002, 13 months after the 9/11 attacks, the names of 343 FDNY members killed when the Twin Towers collapsed were added. Tuesday’s addition of 118 names was the largest group added to the wall since then. Typically, a handful of names are added during the annual ceremony held during Fire Prevention Week.