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Funeral Today For NYC EMS Asst. Chief Who Died Of Tumor Linked To WTC

YONKERS, NY (CBSNewYork) - Retired EMS assistant chief John McFarland was revered within the FDNY, and today he is being laid to rest after dying from a brain tumor linked to his service after the attacks of 9/11.

WCBS 880's Sean Adams On The Story


"John was a person, on my staff, who was one of the people I would always go to," said fire commissioner Sal Cassano. "John was always thinking. He'd be at home and he'd call and say 'I got this idea.'."

"He was a bulldog. He was a tough boss. But he was also somebody that people looked up to," said Cassano.

Cassano says McFarland's ideas developed into many innovations.

"John wanted to train everybody in the city in CPR, and that's one of the things that we're doing, and that's John's legacy," Cassano told WCBS 880 reporter Sean Adams.

Today there is a program called CPR on the Road that teaches life-saving skills at schools and senior centers.

"We train you with a CPR kit and a movie and you get to take that kit home with you and you could actually train your family members," said Cassano.

McFarland dedicated his life to helping others.

He toiled long hours at the World Trade Center recovery, and developed a brain tumor.

"Every week, it seems like somebody else is coming down with an illness or injury attributed to the World Trade Center. So, we started out with 343 members. We're over 400 now and I'm afraid that's going to go much higher," said Cassano.

Cassano says the department needs public support.

"Cancer should be included in the Zadroga bill," he said.

The funeral is at the Church of the Annunciation, 470 Westchester Avenue in Yonkers.

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