The Detective James Zadroga Story

Remembering James Zadroga and All First Responders

We have many men and women to thank for their bravery and selfless service on 9/11 and in the months afterward. These include Ray Pfeifer, Luis Alvarez, and of course, James Zadroga.

James Zadroga was one of many, but his death soon after his exposure to the toxic air after 9/11 told the medical community that there would be many more related deaths in the future. The death of James Zadroga brought national attention to the health problems of 9/11 first responders, as well as Lower Manhattan office workers and Downtown residents.

Firefighter jackets and helmets hanging from hooks

On September 17, 2001, EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman falsely told the responders, workers, residents and others in Lower Manhattan that the “air was safe to breath.”

The Air Was Not Safe to Breath

Recent statistics reveal to all Americans how wrong that statement was. Over 95,000 individuals suffering from a 9/11-related illness are now enrolled in the World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP)

James Zadroga: A True American Hero

James Zadroga was a hero to many, as he immediately rushed to the scene along with many other brave first responders. He was a survivor, since he managed to escape the World Trade Center as it collapsed. He served over 470 hours at Ground Zero, helping the rescue and recovery operations after September 11, 2001. 

The Effects of High Exposure to Ground Zero Dust

During his time serving in the recovery efforts, Detective Zadroga spent hours digging through hazardous debris, and inhaling toxic fumes that surrounded the entire Ground Zero area. In the weeks that followed, Detective Zadroga developed a chronic cough, which caused shortness of breath, acid reflux, and regular headaches. He required oxygen tanks in order to breathe and other medications to manage his pain. Despite his illness, he continued to report for duty as a decorated New York City Police Detective. Doctors struggled to diagnose and treat his condition, and it made it difficult for him to work full-time, which in turn created a financial struggle at home. In 2003, doctors were finally able to diagnose him with Black Lung Disease.

James Zadroga was one of the first cases showing the relationship between 9/11 dust and the development of various illnesses.

9/11 Dust and Asbestos Exposure

The Delay of Disability Benefits

Zadroga was not granted full disability until November 1, 2004. He passed away in 2006 and was one of the first to be recognized for an illness caused by exposure at the 9/11 attack scenes. The Governor at the time signed legislation to expand benefits to workers suffering from 9/11-related illnesses

Compensation and Care for All Individuals Exposed to Ground Zero Toxins

The Zadroga Act (now known as the James Zadroga Reauthorization Act of 2015) aims to change this. The James Zadroga story has, along with others, allowed for thousands of more 9/11 victims to get the treatment they need and the compensation they deserve, through Zadroga Act payouts. The devastation of the attacks and rescue efforts, combined with the many months of cleanup, has had tremendous long-term impacts on those involved. Thanks to Congress, Zadroga Act lawyers – acting as advocates – and 9/11 hero stories, first responders, and other victims can get the Zadroga Act payouts they need to support their families and recover.

Have you become ill after your exposure at Ground Zero?

Have you become ill as a result of being in the vicinity of 9/11 in the months after the attacks? The Zadroga Act lawyers at Hansen & Rosasco, LLP can help you get the compensation and health care you deserve through the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) and the World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP). If you were a first responder or had been involved in the cleanup and recovery operations, or you were a Downtown NYC resident, worker or student between September 11, 2001 and May 30, 2002, call us today at 800-887-7299 or fill out a contact form here.

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My partner was given the most professional and thorough attention in the process of preparing an application for the Victims Compensation Fund. After having a very serious form of cancer, he welcomed the advice and care you provided which was greatly needed.” -Beverly R.

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Zadroga Act Payouts and Benefits

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