Carmelo Mercado, 63, was one of the first responders after the second tower collapsed and spent two days searching the rubble at Ground Zero.
9/11 fireman wins N1 billion naira in the lottery
A New York fireman who was one of the first on the scene on the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center has won $5 million (roughly a billion naira) in the lottery.
The toll it took on his lungs forced him to retire from duty three years later.
But it seems that karma has stepped in and, after buying two scratch-off tickets in the New York lottery in May, Mr Mercado hit the jackpot.
"I said, 'Holy mackerel, that looks like $5 million'," he told NBC . "My mind went blank. I was in shock."
He will take home $3.3 million after taxes. That would be almost 700 million naira.
He said he plans to take a cruise and might buy a house in Florida. He also plans to spend some of the money on his children.
"My daughter asked me, 'Does that mean I can get an American Girl doll?'" he said. "So I told her, 'How 'bout 10?'"
Mr Mercado has his mother to thank for his lottery habit.
"My mother always told me... life here in America is expensive, especially in New York; . play lotto," he told ABC News
He said that on 9/11 he had no choice but to go and help.
"That morning ... when the first plane hit ... you thought it was an accident, a pilot made an error," he said told ABC. "But when the second one hit, there was no error. On the intercom there was a fireman who was trapped on a fire truck. He was about to cry. He said, 'Please come and help me.' When we heard those words ... we rushed down there.
"When I rushed there ... I saw grown firemen hugging each other and crying. And when I saw that, I said, 'This is bad.'"
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