Retired FDNY Lt. Joseph Stach has died of pancreatic cancer

Retired FDNY Lt. Joseph Stach Jr. has passed away at 51 years old.

The toxic dust and debris that Joseph Stach was exposed to while working at the Ground Zero site in the days and weeks following 9/11 not only took over his life, but ended his career prematurely. Joseph Stach received citations for bravery including an honor he received for the 2009 daring rescue of an unconscious man from a five-story burning building while part of Ladder 6 Dragon Fighters servicing Chinatown in Manhattan. Stach was forced to retire early due to the war the 9/11 related illnesses were waging on him. In the years following his 2010 retirement, the illnesses he developed due to the toxic dust cloud at the World Trade Center became pancreatic cancer by 2017. 

Pancreatic cancer is more prevalent in World Trade Center responders and survivors and has a high mortality rate. 

The pancreas is a long, flat gland found deep in the abdomen and is part of the digestive system that helps to control blood sugar levels. It is buried deep in the body and symptoms of pancreatic cancer may not be apparent until the tumor has grown large enough to impact its function, or other nearby organs such as the stomach or liver. The latency period (amount of time between exposure and symptoms developing) for pancreatic cancer can take up to 18 years. Typically, solid cancer latency periods can range from 6.6 years up to 57 years.

Joseph Stach and his family were surrounded by support from friends, FDNY members and the Valley Cottage and Nyack school district community they are a part of. Joe is survived by his wife JoAnn Ryan-Stach, children Darren, Corrin, Kayla, Ryan, and Tyler, his parents and his sister along with her family.

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