Newly identified Sept. 11 victim was a firefighter

/ Source: The Associated Press

One of the two Sept. 11 victims just identified through advanced DNA technology was a firefighter whose remains were recovered from the World Trade Center site in 2001, the fire department said in a letter.

The four-paragraph letter, sent last week to the families of the 128 Fire Department of New York victims whose remains were never identified, stressed the identification was unrelated to the recent discovery of remains from ground zero and the surrounding area.

The letter, reiterating a statement from the medical examiner's office, said the firefighter's family did not want his identity made public.

"We respect that wish," said FDNY Assistant Commissioner Suzanne Sebert, of the Family Assistance Unit.

New technology helped identification
The firefighter's family was aware that word of his identification would go to the other FDNY families, the letter said.

"The identification was the result of new DNA technology applied to a remain from 2001," said the March 29 letter from Sebert. "We know that information like this may raise both hope and apprehension."

The FDNY lost 343 members when the twin towers collapsed.

The two victims identified last week were the first since three were identified in November.

Medical examiner's office spokeswoman Ellen Borakove said earlier this week that the family of the second newly identified victim had not decided whether to go public. She did not return a telephone call left Wednesday about the identities.

In the last 15 months, more than 1,200 bones have been discovered in an abandoned skyscraper across from the lower Manhattan trade center site, beneath a service road at ground zero and under property where a destroyed church once stood.

There are still more than 1,100 Sept. 11 victims whose remains were never returned to their families from the 2,749 victims of the terrorist attack.