(CBS) — More than 270 Illinois residents who helped at the World Trade Center site after Sept. 11 are expected to get some long-awaited assistance from the federal government.

WBBM’s Steve Miller reports.

Retired Chicago firefighter Art Noonan spent five days working at “the pile” — Ground Zero — after 9/11.

He believes those five days of breathing in air particles contributed to his leukemia diagnosis in late 2004. He’s pleased to learn that finally a bill is expected to pass that will help him and others who got sick after working at Ground Zero.

“I think it’s a great thing that finally it’s going to be passed,” Noonan says. “There’s a lot of younger guys that spent time there in New York, and who knows what’s going to happen with their health in the future?”

Noonan, who is now 69 years old, is still in remission.

U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk’s office says the bill is expected to be signed into law by early next week.