Firefighters killed in 130 Liberty St. blaze Robert Beddia, 53, of Staten Island and Joseph Graffagnino, 33, of Brooklyn, were killed by an Aug. 18, 2007 fire at the former Deutsche Bank tower. They were both pronounced dead at Downtown Hospital after suffering from cardiac arrest.
In 2007 the 9/11 health fund debate started to heat up, with first responders pressing the issue and receiving support from Mayor Bloomberg, Community Board 1, and Congressional leaders. Four years later, what become a huge mobilization of New York’s political leaders and 9/11 health advocates would result in the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. The Police Department studied the Park Row closure, which has had a devastating effect on Chinatown’s businesses, but nothing came of it. City Hall’s north section finally opened. The Port Authority’s construction activity ramped up to around the clock, and W.T.C. construction noise arose as an issue.
In May, a 22’ section of pipe fell down 35 stories from the Deutsche Bank building undergoing demolition, injuring two firefights at the firehouse below. And in August, a seven alarm fire broke out on the 18th floor of the building, burning well into the night, and eventually killing two firefighters, Joseph Graffagnino and Robert Beddia, who had become trapped in a nightmarish maze of blocked exits and plastic sheeting.
The Headlines of 2007 tell the story:
Nadler would cut Iraq war money; says 9/11 dough should flow • 9/11 care at Bellevue Hospital for residents who can’t cough up cash • City Council and community blast E.P.A. cleanup plan • Cop Cesar Borja’s death and Clinton draw more attention to 9/11 health concerns • C.B. 1 sides with 9/11 families on search for human remains • Down payment or chump change? Bush’s pledge of $25 million in 9/11 health care funds hailed and assailed • 9/11 workers’ struggle to get workers’ comp • First-person stories form heart of tours around the W.T.C. • Bloomberg joins fight for residents’ 9/11 health care • Community balks at plan to place W.T.C. stairs on site of new Battery Park City school • Downsizing of P.A.C. draws questions, concern and hope • City speeds up P.A.C. plan under Port pressure • Look out below! Billions’ worth of building down at the W.T.C. • Downtown parent Anthony Shorris in charge of W.T.C redevelopment as Port’s executive director • Royal visit: King Albert II of Belgium at the W.T.C. • 9/11 opera: A musical reconciliation of 9/11 conceived from Wickham Boyle’s newspaper columns • German cyclist Robert Diener rides cross-country to raise awareness of 9/11 victims’ children • 9/11 dog handler indicted for bilking F.E.MA., Red Cross • Some families demand 9/11 ceremony at W.T.C., despite construction • Police study on Park Row changes, street’s closure remains • Early warnings of the Deutsche Bank fire that killed firefighters Robert Beddia and Joseph Graffagnino: what led to their deaths? • Port’s W.T.C. work may go ‘round the clock • 9/11 ceremony plans include more street closings • New Yorkers reflect on 9/11 photo, video and object exhibit, “Here is New York: remembering 9/11” • Pelosi backs 9/11 health bill • Presidential candidate John Edwards impresses Downtown crowd with counter-terrorism plan • Anthrax scare sets off false terror alarm on Sept. 11 • Silverstein unveils new W.T.C. tower details • City expands 9/11 health program for residents and workers • City hires 9/11 pediatrician; W.T.C. construction hours expand • Chinatown looks for roadblock to city’s new Park Row plans • 9/11 health support from presidential candidate Mike Gravel • Bottom line for 9/11 non-profits: We need help • With fundraising nearly done, we’re building the 9/11 Memorial • Work at the W.T.C., PATH station construction underway • The 9/11 syndrome of playing the victim • W.T.C. neighbors express their frustration over construction noise • E.P.A. hasn’t eliminated lead contamination from Downtown, critics say • 9/11: the new pulse of Lower Manhattan artists • “I am Legend” movie conjures up 9/11 fears again • Anger grows as Port races to meet deadline, work goes on 24/7 • PATH hub date pushed back a year, not to open until 2011