New York, NY – Uniformed Firefighters Association (UFA) President Gerard Fitzgerald delivered the following statement on the death of Firefighter Robert M. Tilearcio from a 9-11-related cancer:
“Firefighter Robert M. Tilearcio was undoubtedly one of New York City’s bravest, and it is with great sadness that we mourn his death today. We lost Robert earlier this week due to brain cancer caused by his service at the World Trade Center site following the 9-11 attacks. Firefighter Tilearcio joined the FDNY in 1983, and spent his 34-year career assigned to Engine Company 266 located in Rockaway Beach, Queens.
Following the 9-11 attacks he took numerous trips to Washington DC during our fight for the re-authorization of the Zadroga Act, and would speak to audiences concerning World Trade Center-related illnesses because he wanted others to know about the dangers and risks endured during that time. He was respected throughout our community and was honored along with the late retired FF Ray Pfeifer by the AFL-CIO for their efforts around the Zadroga Act in 2015.
FF Tilearcio is the 15th firefighter or fire officer who has passed away due to a 9-11 related illness this year.
Numerous New York City Firefighters continue to get sick and die in high numbers due to cancers and other diseases caused by breathing the toxic air at the World Trade Center following the 9-11 attacks on our nation.
While we mourn FF Robert M. Tilearcio’s death, we also remember the 143 other firefighters and fire officers who have passed away in the 16 years since the 9-11 attacks due to WTC-related illnesses.
His funeral will take place on Saturday at 10am in Massapequa, NY.
New York City, and our country, will never forget the sacrifices that Robert and so many of our brave firefighters have made.
On behalf of the entire UFA Executive Board and the union membership, we extend our condolences to his family and to those he served with.