Press Releases

For Release September 25, 2014

Statement from UFA President Steve Cassidy on Death of 3 FDNY Bravest from 9-11 Related Cancers

This week, in the wake of a horrible triple tragedy for the UFA and FDNY family, we mourn the deaths of three of our firefighters who all succumbed on Monday, September 22 to the ravages of cancer, caused by their service at the World Trade Center site following the 9-11 attacks.

  • Ret. FF. Robert Leaver of E-202 in Bay Ridge (Age 56) had leukemia, a blood cancer;
  • Ret. FF. Daniel Heglund of Rescue-4 in Woodside (Age 58) had esophageal cancer that metastasized into his bones;
  • Ret. Lt. Howard Bischoff of L-149 in Dyker Heights (Age 58) died from Stage 4 colon cancer.

All of these firefighters were active and healthy before 9-11.

Since shortly after the 9-11 attacks on our nation, New York City Firefighters have been getting sick and dying in record numbers as a result of cancers and other diseases caused by breathing the toxic air at the World Trade Center site. Medical data that the FDNY maintained on every New York City Firefighter pre-9-11 gave doctors conclusive scientific results on the negative health impact of that environment had on our members.

The deaths of FF. Robert Leaver, FF. Daniel Heglund and Lt. Howard Bischoff are sad reminders that New York City Firefighters and other first responders continue to suffer from the after-effects of 9-11 more than 13 years after that tragic event.

On behalf of the entire UFA Executive Board and the union membership, we extend our condolences to the members of their families and to the members of the companies that they served with. New Yorkers and our nation must never forget the sacrifices these and many other brave firefighters made.

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