SALT LAKE CITY — The Unified Fire Authority is mourning the loss of a retired firefighter who died Saturday.
Chris Cage died from cancer believed to be connected to his work at Ground Zero after September 11, 2001.
Cage spent more than 30 years as a firefighter in Utah. He’s credited with dedicating his life to helping others.
For decades, he volunteered for the honor guard and also regularly deployed with Utah’s elite Task Force 1.
“He did it willingly and wanted to go above and beyond,” said Capt. Mark Greensides.
In 2001, Cage worked six days in the Ground Zero rubble after the terror attacks on 9/11.
Capt. Greensides was there, too.
“We know that there was always a risk. What that risk was was hard to define, honestly,” said Capt. Greensides.
In July, X-rays of a back injury showed Cage developed tumors. Capt. Greensides said it was small-cell lung cancer believed to be connected to 9/11.
After the collapse of the two office towers, first responders were exposed to a number of carcinogens. Now, studies show they develop cancer at 15 percent higher rates.
Several Utah Task Force members who were there in 2001 now have cancer. For Capt. Greensides, it’s kidney cancer. Cage is the second team member to die from the disease.
“Six weeks from when he learned he had cancer to when he passed away. Very rapid,” said Capt. Greensides.
Capt. Greensides said Cage was a fun-loving man, who enjoyed skiing, his family and firefighting.
“He had a greater sense of duty and tried to give back,” said Capt. Greensides.
Funeral services have not been announced.