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Local firefighters react to 9-11 victims compensation fund debate

(WPMI) Local firefighters react to 9-11 victims compensation fund debate
(WPMI) Local firefighters react to 9-11 victims compensation fund debate

Wednesday in Washington the House Judiciary Committee voted unanimously in support of a bill that would give fresh money to the 9-11 victims' compensation fund.

Local firefighters from our area responded too. Back in 2001 the Mobile Fire Department sent six firefighters with a disaster medical team to New York.

Baldwin County Sheriff Huey Hoss Mack responded as part of a national forensic recovery team.

"Let Us Not Forget" is a powerful phrase seen all across the country, there's even a monument in the small town of Robertsdale.

"They did their jobs with courage, grace, tenacity and humility," said comedian and activist John Stewart. It took Stewart to criticize lawmakers’ inaction on the issue of keeping the compensation fund alive to help the survivors of 9-11.

"It takes somebody like that to turn heads you know somebody higher up that can get somebody's attention to bring an issue forward and say you know this isn’t right," said Gulf Shores firefighter Travis Willis.

"This event affected so many people so many lives and it continues to affect people’s lives and their families and we really need to work together and find a solution for these guys," said Nicholas Russell also a Gulf Shores firefighter.

The issue before Congress runs as deep as the brotherhood all firefighters share.

"To say that they are not going to renew this it hurts my gut especially if I was a family member going through that situation. I don’t see how they cannot look at this and fund it and push it through," said Willis.

Firefighters everywhere know some day it could be them.

"And there's numerous people, not even firefighters and police officers, even utility workers and so many that got affected by that stuff and it could be one person affected but it goes down the line and it affects their entire family," said Russell.

Lawmakers said they expect a full house vote next month. The bill is expected to pass easily in the House, but its prospects are less certain in the Senate.