(CBS).- Two hundred fire fighters have now reportedly died from illnesses related to the September 11th attacks, according to a charitable organization that assists 9/11 first responders with medical needs not covered by insurance.
The Ray Pfeifer Foundation confirmed on Twitter Wednesday that two more New York City fire fighters have died due to “9/11 illness,” marking the 199th, and 200th FDNY deaths related to the World Trade Center attacks. Retired FDNY captain Dennis Gilhooly of Engine Company 67, and retired firefighter Brian Casse of Engine Company 294, both died, the foundation said.
The Ray Pfeifer foundation was established in memory of a FDNY firefighter who died on May 28, 2017 from cancer related to 9/11, according to the foundation.
“(Ray Pfeifer) was a leading force in lobbying to extend the Zadroga Act through 2090, ensuring health care coverage for 75,000 people who need, or will need, treatment for health conditions developed as a direct result of 9/11 exposure,” reads the foundation’s website.
In March 2018, the Uniformed Firefighters Association of Greater New York reported that more than 170 firefighters had died as the result of illnesses related to the World Trade Center attacks, according to CBS New York. More than 50,000 people have illnesses linked to their exposure to toxins that were released after the towers collapsed.
Scientific evidence linking the attacks to cancer is still unsettled. Researchers studying illnesses among people exposed to the 9/11 dust cloud have found an unusual number of deaths from brain malignancies and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, but fewer deaths than expected from other types of cancer.
Securing federal funding for the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, which covers medical treatment for 9/11 first responders, has been a battle. Comedian Jon Stewart, along with many first responders who were at Ground Zero, championed the cause.
Luis Alvarez, a former New York City police detective who publicly fought for the fund, including an appearance in front of Congress near the end of his battle with colorectal cancer, died in June. He was 53.
In July, President Donald Trump signed the “Never Forget the Heroes Act,” extending the compensation fund through 2092, and securing an additional $10.2 billion in payments over the next 10 years.