Firefighter Richard Jones, 63, and Lt Paul Deo Jr., 74, both died of unspecified ailments on Friday, February 7, FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said in a statement.
Jones served in one of New York's fire departments for two decades. He received three acts of merit during his career in 1992 and 1997.
Deo retired out of Engine 317 in St. Albans after serving in the department for 33 years.
Both men retired about a year after the 2001 terror attack that brought down the Twin Towers in Lower Manhattan and killed more than 300 firefighters at Ground Zero.
“Nearly two decades later, our FDNY family continues to lose remarkable men and women who never wavered in their commitment to protecting life and property in our city. Our department will never forget them or the bravery they exuded throughout their careers,” Commissioner Nigro said in a statement Sunday.
"The breathing problems started almost immediately and they were told they weren’t sick, they were crazy. And then, as the illnesses got worse, and things became more apparent, 'Well, okay, you’re sick, but it’s not from the pile.' And then when the science became irrefutable, 'Okay, it’s the pile, but this is a New York issue. I don’t know if we have the money,'" Stewart said in his testimony before the House Judiciary Committee on June 12.
"And I’m sorry if I sound angry and undiplomatic. But I’m angry, and you should be too, and they’re all angry as well and they have every justification to be that way...Your indifference cost these men and women their most valuable commodity: time. It’s the one thing they’re running out of," he added.
Stewart's fight to grant permanent healthcare to first responders finally paid off later that month when President Donald Trump signed a bill that permanently reauthorized the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. The fund pays out claims for deaths and illnesses related to the attack.