9/11 Hero Dies of Cancer

On September 11, 2001, at the time of the terrorist attacks, NYFD firefighter Thomas Phelan was a ferry captain working for Circle Line Statue of Liberty ferry cruises. He was a hero who evacuated hundreds of people from Lower Manhattan to safety. 

Phelan, along with thousands of other first responders, emergency workers, recovery/clean-up crew members, students and workers contracted a 9/11 related illness from exposure to the toxic dust and debris that filled the air on September 11th and in the days, weeks and months that followed. Thomas Phelan died this past Friday, March 16, 2018 of the cancer he contracted while saving others on that terrifying day.

In a CNN article written by Olivia Kiely and Joe Sterling, FDNY spokesperson Jim Long confirmed Phlean’s heroism and shared how Thomas Phelan joined the fire department in 2003 as a firefighter who was later promoted to marine pilot. 

The article also shared a tweet from New York City mayor Bill de Blasio.

In our city’s darkest hour, @FDNY firefighter Thomas Phelan’s heroism saved hundreds of lives,” de Blasio said. “We will never forget his service and his sacrifice,
— Mayor Bill de Blasio

Phelan was an active firefighter at the time of his death according to a New York Daily News piece by Graham Rayman and Thomas Tracy. "He was first assigned to Engine Co. 55, but was later promoted to marine patrol and transferred to Marine 9 in Staten Island, where he manned a fire boat."

The funeral was held on Tuesday, March 20th at St. Michael’s Church in Brooklyn. It was attended by hundreds, including a great number of FDNY firefighters in their blue uniforms. His casket was taken to GreenWood Cemetary on the back of a firetruck.