NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — More than 16 years later, 9/11 continues to take its toll.

Retired FDNY Lt. Joseph Stach Jr. died of a 9/11-related illness on Sunday. He was 51.

Stach developed pancreatic cancer after spending weeks digging and searching at the World Trade Center site.

“Another really good guy who was affected by that tragedy all these years later. This is terrible,” said Rockland County Fire Coordinator Gordon Wren.

Stach started as a volunteer firefighter at Empire Hook & Ladder Company in Upper Nyack in the 1980s.

“It’s quite a loss for the family and the fire department,” Wren said. “Joe was a good guy. Always upbeat, enthusiastic, a lot of energy.”

In the FDNY, Stach was cited for bravery. He once crawled on his belly through a burning Chinatown tenement and dragged a man who stuck to the floor by melted plastic to safety.

Stach is the third 9/11 first responder to die this year.

He is survived by his parents, wife and five children.

Visitation is scheduled on from 2 – 4 p.m. and 7 – 9 p.m. Thursday at St. Ann’s Church on 16 Jefferson St. in Nyack. Funeral services will be held at the church Friday at 11 a.m.


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