How many EMTs and paramedics were killed on 9/11?
On the 20th anniversary of the deadly attacks, I am embarrassed and apologetic that the number of EMS deaths doesn’t come to mind as quick as firefighters’ “343”
I can't readily and easily answer the simple question, “How many EMTs and paramedics were killed on 9/11?”
It feels like the answer should be as easy for me to access as “343,” which is the number of FDNY firefighters who lost their lives responding to the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.
Different sites, different numbers
I apologize for not considering this question and seeking out an answer until now, the 20th anniversary of the attacks. I was already an EMT on 9/11 and have been writing about EMS, teaching EMS and speaking on EMS topics ever since. If someone should know this, it should be me.
I started with a Google search, “How many EMTs and paramedics died on 9/11.” The featured result is an unattributed article on an organization site I have never heard of before. The article states, “10 paramedics and EMTs died on the day.”
A Wikipedia article on “Emergency Workers Killed in the September 11 Attacks” reports “Eight emergency medical technicians and paramedics from private emergency medical services,” and a separate portion of the article lists two FDNY EMS paramedics who died on September 11, 2001.
Seven people are listed on the Emergency Medical Services portion of the 9/11 Memorial. The names begin on panel S-25 on the south side of the South Memorial Pool.
The National EMS Memorial Service tracks EMS provider deaths and there are dozens of search results for “9/11” and “September 11, 2001,” but the directory of honorees isn’t searchable by date of death.
@NYCEMSwatch, a prolific Tweeter of EMS-related news, with a special focus on New York City EMS news, has regularly tweeted an image of eight EMS providers who were killed on 9/11.
8 on-duty EMTs and paramedics were killed on 9/11
Feeling more confused than when I started, I messaged Dave Konig, a longtime EMS friend and NYC-based EMS provider and leader. I shared with Konig that I was having difficulty finding an answer or determining an answer. Konig shared that there are eight individuals who are generally acknowledged as having been killed in line of duty because their primary roles that day were as EMS providers. And Konig’s list matched the @NYCEMSWatch image.
Eight on-duty EMTs and paramedics were killed on September 11, 2001:
- Paramedic Ricardo Quinn, FDNY EMS
- Paramedic Carlos Lillo, FDNY EMS
- Paramedic Keith Fairben, New York Presbyterian Hospital
- EMT Mario Santoro, New York Presbyterian Hospital
- EMT Mark Schwartz, Hunter Ambulance
- EMT Yamel Merino, MetroCare Ambulance
- EMT Richard Allen Pearlman, Forest Hills Volunteer Ambulance Corps
- EMT David Marc Sullins, Cabrini Hospital
Sullins, Merino, Schwartz, Santoro, Fairben, and Pearlman appear on the Emergency Medical Services (S-25, S-26, S-27) panel on the South Memorial Pool of the 9/11 Memorial.
Other EMTs killed on 9/11
Three other EMTs, who were not on duty, died on 9/11. Jeff Lyal Simpson, a long-time EMS volunteer in Virginia, was not working as an EMS provider on 9/11, but was in the city as a project manager setting up a new computer system. According to a New York Times article, “he was last seen headed for the north tower.” Simpson appears on the S-25 panel with Fairben, Santoro, Schwartz, Merino, Allen and Sullins.
Mohammad Salman Hamdani, an EMT who was reported by the New York Times to have volunteered as an EMT for a year and was also a member of the NYPD Cadet Corps, was killed on 9/11. According to a Wikipedia article, Hamdani was on his way to work at Rockefeller University, but after the attack went to the scene to help. His body, identified with DNA match, was found with his medical bag and identification in the North Tower rubble. Hamdani is listed on panel S-66, the north edge of the South Memorial Pool, an area for people who worked in or were visiting the South Tower or other areas of the complex.
Sergeant Mitchell Scott Wallace was killed in the attacks while working in his capacity as New York State Unified Court System court officer. Wallace was also Bayshore Volunteer Ambulance Corps EMT. He appears on panel S-26 with two other court officers.
Too many have died
Though eight seems to be a solid answer to my question, “How many EMTs and paramedics were killed on 9/11?,” 11 also feels correct. This year and in the years ahead, I will pause to silently remember and reflect on the selfless service of Quinn, Lillo, Fairben, Santoro, Schwartz, Merino, Pearlman and Sullins. And I will also remember Simpson, Hamdani and Wallace as caregivers who undoubtedly were serving others.
I also will remember and honor the service of the firefighters and police officers who died on 9/11, as well as the growing number of firefighters, police officers, EMTs, paramedics and others who have succumbed to or are suffering from 9/11-related diseases.
Explore the 9/11 Memorial: Use this virtual 9/11 Memorial guide to find the names of the EMTs and paramedics killed on September 11, 2001.
Note: this article was updated on October 11, 2021 with additional information about Mohammad Salman Hamdani.