Correction: Sept 11-Health story

Published on NewsOK Modified: September 9, 2013 at 1:04 pm •  Published: September 9, 2013
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NEW YORK (AP) — In a story Sept. 8 about health compensation for first responders to 9/11, The Associated Press incorrectly reported the first name of the former chief of the Shanksville Volunteer Fire Company. He is Terry Shaffer, not Ted Shaffer.

A corrected version of the story is below:

9/11 responders far from NYC seek compensation

9/11 responders at Pentagon, Pa. site apply for compensation, benefits alongside NYC workers

By DAVID B. CARUSO

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — They weren't exposed to anywhere near the same level of ash, grit and fumes, but emergency workers who rushed to the Pentagon and the Pennsylvania countryside on 9/11 are signing up for the same compensation and health benefits being given to New Yorkers who got sick after toiling for months in the toxic ruins of the World Trade Center.

Federal officials say at least 91 people who were at those two crash sites have applied so far for payment from a multibillion-dollar fund for people with an illness related to the attacks. That includes 66 people who fought fires and cleaned up rubble at the Pentagon and 25 who responded to the wreckage of United Airlines Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pa.

Those numbers are minuscule compared with the more than 24,000 firefighters, police, construction workers and others who applied for compensation in New York after developing illnesses possibly linked to long hours spent in ground zero's constant fires and drifts of pulverized concrete and glass.

But the Pentagon or Shanksville applicants are notable because, to date, no medical study or environmental survey has suggested that people who responded to either site were exposed to similar health hazards. They were on the scene for days rather than months. And there have been no reports of a strange rash of illnesses. Responders at those sites were given eligibility by Congress mostly out of a sense of fairness, without any clear indication that anyone was sick.

A separate program administered by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health expects as many as 1,500 Virginia and Pennsylvania responders to apply for free health monitoring and treatment. So far, just 19 have applied.

The trickle of people signing up for compensation includes Alexandria Fire Department Capt. Scott Quintana, who dug through feet of scorched rubble at the Pentagon to find bodies in 2001. He was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia, a type of cancer, in 2010.

Research has suggested that the genetic mutation that causes his type of cancer might be triggered by some environmental toxins. But even Quintana acknowledged it's unlikely his leukemia was caused solely by the few days he spent at the Pentagon.

"It's part of a long exposure to triggers that create this in your body," Quintana said. "Could I absolutely tie it to 9/11? Absolutely not. Can I tie it to my career in the fire service? Yes."

What that means for his compensation claim isn't entirely clear.