HOUSTON—Friends and family remembered a local firefighter who travelled to New York to help after the Sept. 11 tragedy.
Anthony Tortorice wasn’t killed in the attacks, he died later of lung cancer.
He was one of many firefighters from all over the country who heard the alarm, and rushed to the scene to do what they could. Members of Texas Task Force One were there and they called it the Pile.
“There is no guarantee in what I am doing. There is a guarantee in me that I am going to try,” Tortorice said in September of 2006.
He was later diagnosed with cancer, but it was never fully acknowledged as caused by his time on the Pile.
In all, 58 types of cancer will now be covered by the World Trade Center Health Program. The program covers monitoring and treatment of those cancers. However, it will not cover those, like Tortorice, who have already lost their battles with cancer.
It will cover others Texas responders who were there, like Houston Firefighter Mark Ritchie.
“I consider the whole thing a privilege, as odd as that may sound, because I went,” he said.
There are thousands of potential claims as a result of the decision to add cancers to the list of medical issues covered by the Trade Center Medical Fund. Its reach is well beyond New York.