More than 2,500 Ground Zero rescuers and responders have come down with cancer, and a growing number are seeking compensation for their illnesses, The Post has learned.
The grim toll has skyrocketed from the 1,140 cancer cases reported last year.
In its latest tally, the World Trade Center Health Program at Mount Sinai Hospital counts 1,655 responders with cancer among the 37,000 cops, hard hats, sanitation workers, other city employees and volunteers it monitors, officials told The Post.
The tragic sum rises to 2,518 when firefighters and EMTs are added. The FDNY, which has its own WTC health program, said Friday it counts 863 members with cancers certified for 9/11-related treatment.
A retired FDNY captain, 63, who toiled non-stop at Ground Zero for a week after 9/11, and months in all, recently received a $1.5 million award from the federal 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund for lung disease and inoperable pancreatic cancer.
The emaciated Bravest brought VCF Special Master Sheila Birnbaum to tears when he testified at a hearing in May — expedited because of his dim prognosis — telling how he loves his grandchildren and worries about his wife of 40 years.
“I’m hoping they rush more cases like mine, where we’re not expected to last long,” he told The Post.
On 9/11, he commandeered a city bus and got the Brooklyn Bridge closed so he and his crew from Ladder Co. 132 could race to the towers, where they joined the dig for victims.