William Sheldon Jr., a hero at Ground Zero on the day of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, died of cancer recently, becoming the first member of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to die from cancer related to the attack. He was only 47 years old.
Sheldon was a native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and was stationed in the Queens ATF field office on September 11, 2001, according to a spokesman from the agency. He, along with four other ATF agents, immediately rushed to Ground Zero to search for survivors when they became aware of the attacks. Sheldon and two of his colleagues later were diagnosed with cancer that World Trade Center Health Program doctors linked to prolonged exposure to toxic debris from the fallen towers.
Sheldon battled the cancer bravely for a year, but passed away on Monday, March 9. He was also an Army veteran from the war in Afghanistan, having enlisted after the attacks. His selfless actions on the day of the attacks and his military service made him an indisputable hero.
Sheldon was buried in Culpepper National Cemetery in Virginia, after his funeral was held in Winter Park, Florida. The ATF bureau considers his death to be a death in the line of duty.
Unfortunately, there are still numerous heroic responders who are being diagnosed with cancer or other serious health issues caused by their exposure to toxic WTC debris on 9/11 and the days following. If you or a loved one is among them, you may be able to receive compensation for your medical bills. Please feel free to reach out to the compassionate injury attorneys of Barasch, McGarry, Salzman & Penson in New York City. They represent more 9/11 victims before the Victim Compensation Fund than any other law firm in the country.