- The Washington Times - Monday, January 19, 2015

Steven Bonano, 53, a New York Police Department chief who headed up the agency’s elite Emergency Service Unit — and who was among the first on the scene at the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks on the Twin Towers — died from a blood cancer that was believed tied to his service at Ground Zero.

Officials said he was surrounded by family and friends at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center when he died, the Daily Mail NYPD-chief-responder-9-11-dies-rare-form-blood-cancer-linked-Ground-Zero.html” target=”_blank”>reported.

The news outlet reported that it was thought he contracted the cancer from breathing in toxic fumes and materials during the weeks-long rescue and recovery effort at the World Trade Center. The New York Police Department, however, declined to comment on any ties of the cancer to Bonano’s service at the scene.

The Daily Mail said more than 900 of the 9/11 first responders have died of illnesses that many believe are tied to their Ground Zero service since 2001.

Bonano, who was awarded the Police Combat Cross, was also a licensed pilot who earned a master’s degree from Harvard. One colleague described him as a “cop’s cop,” the New York Post reported.

“He was my mentor,” the colleague told the New York Post. “He was always looking for us to do better. He always did better for himself. He accomplished so much.”

The Mount Sinai Medical Center’s World Trade Center Health Program found that the rate of cancer among Sept. 11 responders has been 15 percent higher than the rate of those not involved in the terror attack cleanup and response — and that the increased rate was primarily seen for blood cancers.

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