New York: A retired firefighter, who severely damaged his lungs while responding to the 9/11 terror attack at the World Trade Centre, has won a whopping USD 5 million in a lottery here in the US.
Carmelo Mercado, 63, rushed to the scene of the September 11, 2001 terror attack soon after the second tower of the World Trade Centre collapsed and spent two days aiding in search efforts at ground zero.
He had to retire three years later after being told by doctors that he had developed a lung ailment from responding to ground zero. He now lives in Orange County, north of New York City.
Mercado, who was presented with a USD 5 million check at the New York Lottery's offices in lower Manhattan, will take home a USD 3.3 million lump sum payment after paying taxes, NBC New York reported today.
He hit the lottery after buying two tickets earlier this year. The first one did not hit. When he saw the first digit of the winning scratcher, he had to do a double-take, he said.
"My mind went blank. I was in shock," he said.
Mercado plans to take a cruise and may buy a house in Florida, saying he already has a list of ideas for what to do with the money, including giving his daughter several American Girl dolls.