— FirefighterCloseCall (@TheSecretList) February 14, 2017
Friends and family gathered on Long Island yesterday to remember a firefighter who worked at Ladder 18 on the Lower East Side for 40 years.
Robert “Fort Pitt” Newman was a 9/11 hero. He responded to Ground Zero and worked at the scene for many months after the tragedy. In 2011, Newman was diagnosed with lung cancer, which doctors say was a result of his work during 9/11. He retired from the fire department in 2005 and died last week.
News 12 Long Island covered the funeral in Farmingdale. Hugh Mettham, a retired Ladder 18 firefighter said of Newman, “He was, he was a legend. A lot of times we called him the old curmudgeon, but he really had a lot of experience and really just brought a smile to everybody’s faces in the firehouse.”
News 12 reported: “Newman’s friends say he turned down multiple opportunities for promotions during his years with Ladder 18, saying he just wanted to stay with his firehouse and help the folks of the Lower East Side.”
The Daily News noted that he’s the fourth firefighter to die this year from a 9/11-related illness. 126 firefighters have died as a result of Ground Zero illnesses in the past 15 years.
Newman was a Vietnam War veteran.