In Memory of Detective Anthony J. Lucanto
9/11 Attacks Takes Life of Officer Nearly 20 Years Later
On November 5, 2020, New York officials came forward to brief residents that another first responder, Detective Anthony J. Lucanto, had died due to 9/11 related illness. Lucanto was one of the hundreds of officers who ran into the face of danger when the Al Qaeda terrorists hijacked airplanes and flew them into the Twin Towers in New York City.
Many first responders and those who worked search and rescue were exposed to debris in the air, which caused many to succumb to respiratory illnesses and lung cancers.
Lucanto had spent 24 years of his law enforcement career with the Paterson Police Department. He enjoyed his work helping others and protecting residents. Lucanto was proud to wear badge number 4363. He was 47 years old.
September 11, 2001
September 11, 2001, was such a shock to Americans. We were not prepared. As frightened citizens fled the area and the twin towers, hundreds of first responders ran towards the danger. Many of them stayed for weeks, all in an effort to help bring the city back to a place of calm, a sense of normalcy.
These responders were not prepared for the long-term health hazards they faced from the air they breathed while being in the area of the attack. The air was so thick that it was like a fog; the dust that filled their lungs was a mix of dust, cement, asbestos, glass fibers, lead, dioxins, carbon monoxide, and unknown chemical elements. No one knew what the long-term health effects of this type of exposure would be on workers.
Over 343 firefighters and paramedics died in the fires and the collapse of the buildings while rushing into danger to rescue others. According to Dr. David Prezant, the chief medical officer for the New York Fire Department, more than 150 first responders have died from various risk-related health issues since.
When the public needs help, the first responders, like Detective Lucanto, answer the call. First responders can come from various fields of work, specialties, and backgrounds; some are police, firefighters, doctors, and nurses. Some first responders are community members who volunteer their time to get training and take courses to be prepared to take care of their neighbors should anything ever happen. No matter their background or how they came to be a first responder, being first to answer calls for help in many situations can be dangerous.
The number of hazards that a first responder can encounter when they are called into action is extensive. Coming to the rescue can put their lives on the line as they save their neighbors, friends, family, and community from dangers. First responders need to participate in extensive training to gain advanced knowledge and training with equipment required for various conditions they may face. Safety management and protocols are essential to reduce the health and possible life-altering hazards that may be encountered. Safety management is there to minimize the loss of lives.
Responders can face serious long-term health effects from events such as significant structural collapses. September 11 is one such example. There is evidence of respiratory effects from biological and chemical hazards. First responders also place themselves at physical risk. They can be seriously attacked by criminal suspects, mentally ill individuals, people who are panicked during life-threatening emergencies. Responder’s risk of being exposed to blood-borne diseases, such as HIV, hepatitis, and other illness, as they are the ones to respond to health-related epidemics, puts their health and lives at risk. Today, it’s COVID19.
Paterson Police Department, New Jersey
The Paterson Police Department is the largest police agency in the state of New Jersey. The PPD has more than 400 officers and 125 civilian employees. It is the largest accredited law enforcement agency in the state.
The PPD was initiated in 1866. Detective Anthony Lucanto is the ninth officer to die in the line of duty since the beginning of this agency. Today’s department offers modern policing, forensics, SWAT, and other divisions to provide a full-service law enforcement department to the city of Paterson, New Jersey.
Watching our loved ones fade is one of the hardest things we face in our lifetimes. Many who had been afflicted with long-term illnesses due to the 9/11 attacks have suffered for many years. Detective Anthony J. Lucanto leaves behind his wife, three children, and his mother.
The Paterson Police Department posted the loss to residents on their Facebook page. “The Paterson Police Department mourns the loss of one of our own. Det. Anthony Lucanto passed after a long, courageous, and valiant battle with cancer. Rest in peace, brother; we will take it from here!”
A young man in Florida, Zechariah Cartledge, has created a foundation to help support the families of law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty. Zechariah’s foundation, Running 4 Heroes, held a commemorative one-mile run to honor the sacrifice made by Detective Lucanto.