Commissioner William J. Bratton, Chief of the New York City Police Department sadly reports the death of Detective 2nd Grade Ronald A. Richards.

Detective Richards, 45, died as a result of a cancer that was determined to be a direct result of his search and rescue efforts at the WTC attacks on September 11, 2001.

At the time of the WTC attack, Detective Richards was assigned to the NYPD’s Elite Emergency Services Division. He was stationed in Staten Island. He responded with his crew on Truck 5 to the World Trade Center buildings and began his search and rescue of survivors and injured persons. During his rescue efforts he became trapped in the basement garage area of the WTC buildings. He managed to dig his way out and rescued several other civilians who were trapped with him.

Following his entrapment, he dusted himself off and went back to Ground Zero and continued his search and rescue efforts. He also worked the Staten Island landfill for months after the attack.

Detective Richards was transferred to the Bomb Squad in February of 2002 and later promoted to Detective 2nd Grade.

Detective Richards was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, a rare blood cancer, in 2007. His health deteriorated rapidly and he was forced to retire in 2008. His battle with cancer ended when he finally succumbed to the disease which was complicated with advanced kidney failure. He died at Mt. Sinai Hospital in Manhattan, New York.

Detective Richards served the NYPD for 17 years. Initially working patrol out of the Brooklyn Precinct. He was promoted to the rank of Detective in early 2001 and served in the Emergency Services Unit. Following the WTC attacks, he was transferred to the Bomb Squad in 2002 and later promoted again to the rank of Detective 2nd Grade.

Detective Richards is survived by his wife of 17 years, Millie, his four daughters; Tyla, 17, Madison, 15, Makalya, 9 and Chloe, 8. Detective Richards also leaves behind both of his parents and two sisters.

Detective 2nd Grade Ronald Richards-gone, but never forgotten. EOW: Saturday, October 10, 2015.

Additional details can be found here:

Wake for Detective Ronald Richards, NYPD (ret.)