An officer with the ASPCA's Humane Law Enforcement unit has died from cancer directly related to exposure she received in the aftermath of 9/11.
Tasked with searching for abandoned animals in the buildings and homes surrounding the WTC site, Investigator Diane DiGiacomo, 52, was credited with saving untold numbers of cats and dogs in the months following the attacks.
Diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014, DiGiacomo passed away on Friday.
She had recently been fighting a worker's compensation claim for her illness; however, a judge ruled against her claim just this past week.
Judge Marc Grodsky argued that her exposure to toxic fumes was specific to the environment she was operating in; however, the work itself was not the source of her exposure.
"The dust and particulates were a result of the environmental conditions in the area in the aftermath of the attack. If she was doing her job in a different area, there would be no exposure," ruled Grodsky.
Investigator DiGiacomo's death is a sad reminder of the estimated 60,000 + first responders who were exposed to toxic dust and fumes in the aftermath of 9/11.
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