Joseph Zadroga, whose first responder son died of a respiratory condition in 2006, was pronounced dead after being struck by a car in New Jersey
Joseph Zadroga, a prominent advocate for the families of 9/11 first responders, died after an accident at a New Jersey hospital parking lot on Saturday.
The incident took place at Bacharach Rehabilitation in Pomona when an 82-year-old man was pulling his SUV into a parking space, according to a statement from the Galloway Township Police Department.
As he was pulling into the space, the driver "accelerated" and struck a parked vehicle belonging to Zadroga, before hitting him as well. Zadroga, 76, was "subsequently pinned underneath" the Nissan.
“On scene life-saving measures were performed, and Zadroga was transported to the AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center Mainland Division where he was later pronounced deceased,” police said in its statement.
An investigation is ongoing.
Zadroga was the father of New York City Police Department Detective James Zadroga, who died of a respiratory condition in 2006, which was believed to be connected to his time at Ground Zero, per the Associated Press.
He was also the former police chief of the North Arlington Police Department in New Jersey, CBS affiliate WCBS reported.
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Additionally, he was an advocate for 9/11 first responders and their families, and the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010, which was named after his late son, offers federal health benefits to responders who became ill after the attacks.
Zadroga was one of several advocates who pushed for the legislation to continue past its initial 2016 expiration date
“I just want everybody out there, the victims who got sick, to have the health care that they deserve, because Jimmy didn’t get it," he said at a rally in 2014, according to the New York Post reported.
The following year, the act was reauthorized for 75 more years, until 2090, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Following the news of Zadroga’s death, the 9/11 Memorial and Museum shared a statement on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.
“We extend our deepest condolences to the family of Joseph Zadroga and join the many members of the 9/11 community mourning his loss,” the organization wrote. “The former chief of the North Arlington, NJ police department was among our nation’s earliest champions on behalf of those affected by 9/11-related illness and his tireless advocacy helped create the Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act.”
New York City Mayor Eric Adams shared his condolences as well.
"Joe Zadroga never gave up the fight for his son James and all of our 9/11 first responders. Not once," he wrote in a statement shared on social media. "This is a tragic loss of a true hero and I ask all New Yorkers to join me in keeping his family and loved ones in your hearts today.”
“Thanks to Joseph, the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010 will continue to help thousands of first responders who fell ill after the attacks in 2001," New York City Police Commissioner Edward Caban shared in a separate statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the Zadroga family during this challenging time."
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