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'We Are Seeing People Dropping Like Flies': Meet the 9/11 First Responders Now Fighting for Their Own Lives

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On Sept. 11, 2001, as thousands were dead or dying in the terror attacks in New York City, Pennsylvania and Virginia, Michael O’Connell was one of the many who rushed in to help. O’Connell, then a 25-year-old probationary firefighter in New York, went to the World Trade Center’s twin towers as soon as they were attacked and subsequently spent weeks in lower Manhattan — breathing in the toxic air and fumes from the destruction as he worked through the pile of wreckage from the buildings, searching first for survivors and then their remains. More.

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