BU alum fights for 9/11 first responders

By Megan Carpenter

November 14, 2013 Updated Nov 14, 2013 at 7:45 PM EDT

Town of Union, NY (WBNG Binghamton) September 11, 2001 will remain an important piece of American history. One man recounted his efforts to help first responders who saved countless lives at ground zero.

William Groner is a lawyer and Binghamton University alumni. He said his job started on Sept. 12, 2001. That's when more than 40,000 first responders began cleaning up debris from the fallen twin towers.

Groner said the clean-up took about nine months and many responders fell ill from inhaling all the dust. He represented 10,000 of them in a lawsuit against the city.

"We had a database of 10,000 people," Groner said. "We got to see the injuries. There were a lot of cancers that have developed."

New York City officials did not provide them with proper respiratory protection, which Groner said is breaking state law.

He spoke for the first time at the Binghamton University Forum on Thursday. More than 100 people filled the Traditions ballroom in Endwell to hear what he had to say.

"You'd like to think the next time we have a toxic catastrophe that the federal government, I think, should come in and take over," Groner said, "and create hazardous material protocols and provide a safer site."

Groner is an attorney with Worby Groner and Edelman, LLP. He said after nine long years, he and his clients settled the case for $800 million.