Retired New York City firefighter Lee Ielpi, 75, spent nine months searching through the rubble of Ground Zero. Searchers at the site managed to find the remains of his son Jonathan Ielpi, who had responded to the disaster as a member of the FDNY Squad 288. Later, Lee founded the only museum that existed on the 9/11 site for more than a decade after the attacks. Then, as he was preparing for retirement, Lee was diagnosed with cancer, most likely caused by his time at Ground Zero.
A highly decorated retired member of the Elite Special Operations Company, Rescue 2, Ielpi, who was awarded 24 recognition’s of exemplary service, as well s a former volunteer fire chief in Great Neck, Long Island, NY (as was his son Jonathan), spoke to Survivor Net about his experience at Ground Zero after 9/11, and the cancer he developed in his blood as a result.