Aug 19, 2007 Firefighters Mourn 2 Killed Near NYC's Ground Zero Rescuers Were From Firehouse That Lost 11 During 9/11 (CBS) NEW YORK A major fire in an abandoned skyscraper near ground zero renewed more than painful memories of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, reports CBS station WCBS-TV in New York. For firefighters, the blaze in the former Deutsche Bank office building added to a tragic toll, taking the lives of two members of a firehouse that had lost 11 in the World Trade Center disaster. And the plume of smoke that trailed from the Deutsche Bank tower - vacant since the World Trade Center disaster turned it into a noxious nightmare - raised new fears of health risks from the terrorist attacks' toxic legacy. Officials said preliminary tests after the Deutsche Bank blaze showed no danger. The smoke had mostly dissipated by Sunday morning, exposing broken-out windows and burned plywood siding in the deserted building. "Our city's worked hard to recover from that awful day in September almost six years ago, and today's sad events have extended the sacrifice the city and the fire department has made," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Saturday as hundreds of firefighters worked for more than seven hours to squelch the seven-alarm blaze. Air-quality tests were continuing early Sunday, with results expected later in the day. The 17th floor of the building, where the fire started, had not yet been cleaned of toxic debris, Environmental Protection Agency spokesman Bonnie Bellow said Sunday. But Bloomberg sought to reassure residents that the asbestos and other toxic substances in the building, dumped there by the twin towers' collapse, likely did not present a significant health risk. Early air-quality tests Saturday showed "no danger we can see to the people in the neighborhood," he said at a news conference. The building's structure was secure and in no danger of falling, the mayor said. State agencies were working with city authorities to determine the cause of the fire and "take all necessary precautions," Gov. Eliot Spitzer said in a statement. The fire brought the stench of smoke and the screech of sirens back to an area still recovering from the 2001 terrorist attacks. More than five dozen fire vehicles, carrying more than 270 firefighters, responded to the blaze as pieces of burning debris fell from the building to the streets. Smoke was visible from midtown Manhattan and the New Jersey side of the Hudson River. Nearby buildings were hastily evacuated, and anxious residents waited for hours before they were allowed to return. "We heard this crackling," said Elizabeth Hughes, who saw the fire start from her rooftop deck across from the Deutsche Bank tower. "And then a huge fire that went up three floors fast. It was massive." The blaze began about a dozen floors up and burned on multiple floors at the building, steps from where 343 firefighters lost their lives in the World Trade Center attack. A worker in the building discovered the fire on the 17th floor after noticing smoke, Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta said. Badly damaged by the disaster, the once 40-story Deutsche Bank building is being dismantled. The state of the building, the asbestos hazard and heavy smoke made conditions especially difficult for firefighters, Scoppetta said. Firefighters had to use ropes to haul hoses up from the street to douse the blaze, he said. Some firefighters used stairs to reach the burning upper floors; others smashed out windows to let in more air to reach the flames. The firefighters who died, Robert Beddia and Joseph Graffagnino, had been trapped and inhaled a great deal of smoke, Bloomberg said. Beddia, 53, had been a firefighter for 23 years; Graffagnino, 33, had been a with the department for eight years, officials said. "It's so awful, I don't know what to do. My whole family is distraught," Graffagnino's grandmother, Connie Marchisotto, 90, told the New York Post. The owner of a pizzeria near the slain firefighters' firehouse remembered Beddia as easygoing and eager to help newcomers learn the ropes. But the firehouse's losses on Sept. 11 haunted him, said Lisa ******, the owner of Arturo's Pizza. "It was hard for him to work with those plaques inside looking at him," ****** told the Daily News, referring to a memorial in the firehouse. Five or six other firefighters were taken to hospitals with smoke inhalation, but their injuries weren't serious, Bloomberg said. No civilians were hurt. The cause of the fire was unknown, but the mayor said it might have been fueled by plywood boxes and other flammable supplies related to the dismantling work. The building at 130 Liberty St. has become a persistent headache for redevelopers in the nearly six years since the attacks. The 1.4 million-square-foot office tower was contaminated with toxic dust and debris after the World Trade Center's south tower collapsed into it. Two years ago, redevelopment officials said the building contained excessive levels of seven hazardous substances, including dioxin and lead. As part of the tear-down, a dozen air-quality monitors were installed in the area around the building. Sept. 11's environmental and health aftereffects have become a subject of congressional hearings, court cases and medical studies. Some preliminary scientific studies have indicated that as many as 400,000 people were exposed to toxic ground zero dust. Hundreds have fallen ill, several have died from lung ailments blamed on inhaled Trade Center ash, and thousands have sued various government entities. Independent government reviews have faulted the federal Environmental Protection Agency's handling of the immediate aftermath of the attacks, as well as the agency's cleanup program for nearby buildings.