N.Y. officer who helped at ground zero dies 14 years later

NEW YORK (AP) — Family members, fellow officers and friends said farewell to a New York City police lieutenant who died of cancer 14 years after she worked at ground zero following the September 11 attacks.

Funeral services were held Sunday for Lt. Marci Simms, 51, of Long Island. She died of lung cancer at her home on Thursday.

Relatives said Simms was one of the thousands of first responders who worked at ground zero. They said she spent more than four months doing rescue, recovery and cleanup work among the smoldering rubble, and later became ill.

In a project produced by Stony Brook University School of Journalism last year, Simms talked about the conditions at ground zero, CBS New York reported. “It was smoky,” she said of the air. “You felt like it was just burning your throat.”

As Simms became increasing sick, she was cared for by her husband, Keith. Her medical costs were covered under the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act.

Simms joined the New York Police Department in 1998 after graduating from John Jay College of Criminal Justice. She worked in Manhattan and Brooklyn before joining the 107th Precinct in Queens in 2013.

“Her heart’s desire was always to be a policeman,” her sister, Susan Fosco, told the Daily News.

On Sept. 11, 2001, extremists linked to al-Qaeda hijacked four airlines and carried outside attacks. Two of the planes were flown into the World Trade Center in New York, a third hit the Pentagon outside of Washington, D.C., and the fourth crashed in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

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