By Jessica Schladebeck, the New York Daily News
For 10 weeks after 9/11, FBI Special Agent Melissa S. Morrow spent hours upon hours sifting through the toxic terrorist crash site at the Pentagon.
Fifteen years later, she was diagnosed with brain cancer — and last week, she became the latest victim of the Al Qaeda attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
Morrow, 48, died Thursday in what federal officials called a line-of-duty death due to her exposure to the poisons unleashed by the fiery airliner crash in the nation’s capital.
(FBI agent dies from brain cancer linked to 9/11. Courtesy of Mèo Mập and YouTube. Posted on Mar 24, 2018)
“Strength & courage come in many forms; most give some, some gave all,” tweeted her colleagues in the Kansas City field office. “(Special Agent) Morrow will be remembered most as a warrior. She will forever be considered a hero.”
In addition to 9/11, she was a first responder to a subsequent six-alarm warehouse fire in Alexandria, Va., where evidence collected from the Pentagon plane crash was stored, officials said.
The University of Missouri graduate joined the FBI in Washington after finishing law school in 1995.
Morrow transferred home to Kansas City in 2010. She was diagnosed in July 2016 after a sudden and disabling attack of massive headaches, insomnia and fatigue.
“Every single day, hour, minute and second being alive is a precious gift,” she wrote in an August 2016 web posting about her health woes.
Morrow was assigned to the Pentagon response team in Washington after the terrorist attack, and spent the next 2 1/2 months pulling and processing pieces of evidence from the contaminated site.
According to the WTC Health Program Enrollment, only 1% of those who signed up to treat 9/11 health issues were first responders at the Pentagon or in Shanksville, Pa. — a total of 488 people.
Morrow’s ailment was certified by the World Trade Center Health Program and Sept. 11th Victim Compensation fund.
In New York, hundreds of 9/11 first responders are struggling with illnesses linked to their efforts at smoldering Ground Zero after the Twin Towers toppled.
Exposure to toxic fumes and dust at the World Trade Center was blamed in those cases, similar to Morrow’s.
NYC Ferry Captain who Saved Hundreds on 9/11 Dies of Cancer at 45
By Matthew Diebel, USA Today
A New York City ferry captain who evacuated hundreds from Lower Manhattan after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attack has died at 45.
Thomas Phelan, who later became an New York City firefighter, succumbed on Sunday to cancer linked to the toxic dust and smoke that billowed around the site of the attack at the World Trade Center, his family told local media.
The Uniformed Firefighters Association of Greater New York says more than 170 firefighters have died as the result of illnesses related to the attacks.
(Learn More. A New York City ferry captain, Thomas Phelan, evacuated hundreds from Lower Manhattan after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Courtesy of USA TODAY and YouTube. Posted on Mar 19, 2018)
Phelan was captaining a Statue of Liberty ferry when the attack occurred.
He helped in the evacuation of Lower Manhattan as well aiding the fire department in their rescue efforts, FDNY spokesman Jim Long told local TV station WABC.
It is with Regret we announce the WTC related death of Marine Pilot Thomas P. Phelan of Marine Co 9, Arrangements are listed below. pic.twitter.com/Tm7jD8HfRm
— UFA (@UFANYC) March 17, 2018
“He brought supplies, rescue workers & was a huge part of the operation,” said a post on the NYC Fire Wire Facebook page.
After joining the FDNY in 2003, the New York Daily News reported, Phelan was assigned to a firehouse in Manhattan’s Little Italy before being promoted to a marine patrol based on Staten Island.
“I’m so sad! A true hero and gentleman,” Maura Buckley wrote on the NYC Fire Wire Facebook page.
“He would help anyone and everyone any chance he could. I just can’t believe this and honestly don’t understand why it’s always the good ones we lose way to early.”
Paul Iannizzotto, who said he worked at the same firehouse in Little Italy, posted on Facebook that Phelan was “Always a stand-up guy, always doing the right thing, and will be sorely missed. Rest easy brother.”
And on Twitter, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio praised Phelan as a hero.
“In our city’s darkest hour, FDNY firefighter Thomas Phelan’s heroism saved hundreds of lives,” he tweeted. “We will never forget his service and his sacrifice.”
— Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) March 18, 2018