NEW YORK - A wake is being held for a New York City firefighter who worked at Ground Zero for six months after 9/11 and was later diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Firefighter James Ryan, of Kings Park, N.Y., died on Christmas. He was 48 and leaves a wife and three children.

Uniformed Firefighters Association president Steven Cassidy is upset Ryan will not receive a line of duty funeral because the city does not consider his death job related.

Ryan's brother, Mike, believes his brother's cancer resulted from exposure to toxins at Ground Zero.

Firefighters who had worked with Ryan in Queens say they have organized an honor guard and bagpipes for Tuesday's funeral.

Services will be held at Abiding Presence Lutheran Church in Fort Salonga.


Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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It would be very good for everyone to read through the Justice Department's PSOB definitions and their denial process. It takes, in short, overwhelming contradictory evidence to deny a benefit, not to approve one. If you wish to question the FDNY, then question the Justice Department, and U.S. Fire Administration as well, in their line of duty death rulings. Local media has reported that Ryan's family will still be receiving department benefits. A LODD in Delaware involving a "Firefighter/First Responder" was tied up in court based on a judge's definition of what is a 'firefighter'. Understanding the PSOB process now may help your family in the future.

No disrespect intended to any of the fire service's fallen and direct survivors, but I have mixed thoughts about his death when compared to the others officiated in 2009 and later years. I also have premise on the line of duty definition as a whole, but that is another matter.

His family and more importantly his children deserve the line of duty death benefit for his sacrifice. This is not about a funeral!

Ray as a friend of a firefighter whose family was not taken care of until a media campaign stepped in and did something for the family, I find this disturbing.
Unless the mayor had not been threatened with all out revolt by the firefighters and others in the city, they never would have been taken care of... but that is another story.

This brother spent 6 months, not 1 day digging for brothers and others killed by terrorists. Look at the sheer number of our brothers and sisters sick and dying in the prime of their lives, and what connects them? Smoking? Drugs? NO its that rescue and recovery site... how many New Yorkers are sick from the same exposure? The odds are much higher that he died from that exposure than he didnt.

Go ask the Brothers in FDNY what should have been done... and yes it does make a difference. If it was you, your family would d*mn well be fighting to make sure your death was not written off as bad luck.
What this perhaps highlights is that there needs be two protocols and distinctions-

1) A full LODD burial

2) A burial with honours for active members

As Jack has highlighted, it would appear that at this stage, this technically doesn't qualify as an LODD death, regardless of what we think. However this does not mean he's not entitled to a service with honours for his time with the department.
Shame on the FDNY Brass that denied this family a proper FireFighter burial. To the Ryan family, there will be a lot us from all around this great country bowing our heads during the ceremony. We'll be there in spirit.
Anyone who helped rescue and clean up of 9/11 is a hero in my eyes. His family is in my prayers and i believe that he deserves a line of duty funeral as much as anybody.
He should be honored in the right way. He was there at ground Zero. No matter what, he was a responder to 9/11, He risked his own life to try to save others. Even I know that the towers were not up to date on its asbestos protocols. I was not there but I know of others that were there.
New here. “Hello” to all –

One of the above articles that is linked to this thread states: “The fire department confirms that his sickness was 9/11-related”. I don’t know if that is a typo or if it is misreported. If true, then there is no need for further discussion.

One of the protections that firefighters have is “presumptive” illnesses. I don’t think that pancreatic cancer is currently one of them, but the door has been opened by conceding that other types of cancers can be presumed to have been job related. Also, it is not necessary to prove it was 9/11 related. It could have been a result of years of firefighting. A good lawyer, better Union representation, etc, and perhaps things would have been different. Still, it is not too late to get him categorized as a LODD posthumously. They have done it before…


Thats total crap!!! What the @#*! are those idiot pencil pushers thinking. Thats the problem with the Fire Industry, To many people making decisions that don't remember what its like to eat smoke!!!!!! ***holes!!
Is the presumptive legislation not better than that in NY? I was under the impression, as in many states and provinces, the onus is no longer on the firefighter to prove the cancer was work related; hence "presumptive". It saddens me that a member of FDNY and his family will be denied benefits for the work that he did.

Keep in mind, it is not the "brotherhood" that is denying his family these benefits, it is the management of the department. Steven Cassidy (UFA president) is on the side of his brother and family. It's a shame that the all mighty dollar will win every time, even when it comes to honouring the life of someone who put his on the line, literally.

Rest Easy James Ryan.
You're right Joe. I'm in Ontario and when presumptive legislation was finally passed here last year, they went back as far as 1967 and covered work related illnesses. If he is not covered now, and changes are made to include pancreatic cancer, he can/should be recognized.

All we can do is lobby and work harder to improve our presumptive legislation. One step at a time.
Don’t every assume what my family would do; this family would still get their death benefit. Eating smoke is a hazard of the job & again I will go back to my original point of the cancer: by your argument every firefighter who comes down with some form of cancer would qualify for a “Job Related illness”. This is inane. If the FDNY approves this then every family of every firefighter who has ever died would be able to go back to the city that they had worked for & sue for additional benefits’. When will it stop? I feel bad for this Brother Firefighter & his family but they will be taken care of. It’s a FUNERAL!! The man will get the respect that he deserves & everyone on this site that feels the need to swear @ the FDNY & NY City needs to grow up; you should be able to argue your point; or at east state your point without swearing; it’s a sign of maturity. Kids {explorers} are on this site reading everything that gets posted; what kind of example are you guys setting
Since there is correlation between certain cancers and the toxins that firefighters are exposed to, the presumptive legislation would not require the firefighter to have to prove that the illness was directly related to his/her job duties (which would be a very expensive and time consuming effort while battling cancer and worrying about the future of your family).

We all know how aggressive cancer can be, and I think the presumption is a humane and morally correct one in terms of any cancer victim….


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