Updated 12/20/2010 at 9:15 p.m.
CHICAGO (WBBM) — Some Chicago firefighters who volunteered to help at Ground Zero after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks are being left out of a settlement to cover health claims.
As WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports, one volunteer, Arthur Noonan, was diagnosed with leukemia after the attacks.
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He was in Lower Manhattan, lined up with others, passing buckets of debris so that human remains could be separated.
“There was a coating of dust everywhere, a gray dust, and in some places it might be 6 or 8 inches deep,” Noonan said.
Respirators clogged up, and eventually, the volunteers worked without them.
Noonan’s career as a firefighter ended in 2004, when the leukemia diagnosis came down. It is now in remission.
Chicago firefighter Stanley Salata was also at the World Trade Center site.
He was diagnosed with respiratory problems two years later. He is still on the job.
The Chicago Sun-Times is reporting a judge decided that neither Noonan nor Solata will be part of the settlement. The judge is ruling not that their health problems weren’t related to their work at Ground Zero, but that they filed too late, by two weeks.
Noonan and Salata are appealing.
“We went there, did our best for the people of New York and the people of the United States and it would be nice now if we got some help back,” Noonan told CBS 2’s Pamela Jones.
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois is pushing for legislation that would allow first responders like Noonan and Salata to be compensated.
Originally, first responders had until 2003 to file a claim under the 911 compensation fund. This bill would reopen the fund, add new money and give first responders until 2030 to file claims, in case they develop health problems later in life that are a result of working at Ground Zero.