A New York Fire Department chief who led recovery efforts at the World Trade Center after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks has died of cancer that was caused by the toxins he exposed to at Ground Zero.
The New York Daily News reported on Saturday that Ronald Spadafora died of cancer. He was 63.
“In his extraordinary career, he fought fires in all five boroughs, improved training for every FDNY member, and as the chief of fire prevention for the last eight years, Ron's dedication and leadership led to greater safety and protection for millions of New Yorkers,” FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro told the news outlet.
Nigro added that Spadafora, a 40-year veteran of the FDNY, was the World Trade Center Chief of Safety throughout the duration of the recovery operation. His most recent role was chief of fire prevention.
Spadafora led a decorated career as a firefighter and played an integral role in several disasters in New York City. The Daily News reports that Spadafora ran the FDNY's Logistics Section after a blackout left millions in the dark in 2003. He also headed that role when Superstorm Sandy hit the region in 2012.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) paid tribute to Spadafora, tweeting that the fire chief's presence saved "countless lives" during his career.
“For forty years, @FDNY Chief Ronald R. Spadafora’s courage saved countless lives,” Mayor Bill de Blasio wrote on Twitter. “On behalf of all New Yorkers, I want to express our deepest condolences to his family, loved ones and the FDNY.”