Detective William J. Holfester

Detective William J. Holfester

New York City Police Department, New York

End of Watch Tuesday, January 22, 2008

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William J. Holfester

Detective William Holfester died from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma that he contracted after inhaling toxic chemicals and materials while working hundreds of hours at Ground Zero, the site of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and the Fresh Kills landfill, the location that the debris of the World Trade Center were taken to and sorted.

He had served with the New York City Police Department for 17 years and was assigned to the Medical Division. He is survived by his wife, two children, and three grandchildren.

On the morning of September 11th, 2001, seventy-two officers from a total of eight local, state, and federal agencies were killed when terrorist hijackers working for the al Qaeda terrorist network, headed by Osama bin Laden, crashed four hijacked planes into the World Trade Center towers in New York City, the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, and a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

After the impact of the first plane into the World Trade Center's North Tower, putting the safety of others before their own, law enforcement officers along with fire and EMS personnel, rushed to the burning Twin Towers of the World Trade Center to aid the victims and lead them to safety. Due to their quick actions, it is estimated that over 25,000 people were saved.

As the evacuation continued, the South Tower unexpectedly collapsed as a result of the intense fire caused by the impact. The North Tower collapsed a short time later. Seventy-one law enforcement officers, 343 members of the New York City Fire Department and over 2,800 civilians were killed at the World Trade Center site.

A third hijacked plane crashed into a field in rural Pennsylvania when the passengers attempted to re-take control of the plane. One law enforcement officer, who was a passenger on the plane, was killed in that crash.

The fourth hijacked plane was crashed into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, killing almost 200 military and civilian personnel. No law enforcement officers were killed at the Pentagon on 9/11.

The terrorist attacks resulted in the declaration of war against the Taliban regime, the illegal rulers of Afghanistan, and the al Qaeda terrorist network which also was based in Afghanistan.

On September 9th, 2005, all of the public safety officers killed on September 11th, 2001, were posthumously awarded the 9/11 Heroes Medal of Valor by President George W. Bush.

The contamination in the air at the World Trade Center site caused many rescue personnel to become extremely ill and eventually led to the death of several rescue workers.

On May 1st, 2011 members of the United States military conducted a raid on a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, and killed Osama bin Laden.

Please click here to visit the memorials of all of the law enforcement officers killed in this terrorist attack.


  • Age 43
  • Tour 18 years
  • Badge 2857

Incident Details

  • Cause 9/11 related cancer
  • Incident Date Tuesday, September 11, 2001
  • Weapon Aircraft; Passenger jet
  • Offender 19 suicide attackers

Most Recent Reflection

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Bill joined Shirley Community Ambulance as a Student Member in 1983. I was Chief at the time and as Bill grew up we became close Friends. I watched Bill grow up. Become NYC Paramedic and than an NYPD Officer. Bill was goofy and Loveable. He served the public unceasingly and was a life long friend. We had fine times together. God Bless you Brother.

George Glew Ex Chief Shirley EMS

June 12, 2020

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