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Lottery joy for 9/11 firefighter

Published 03/07/2015

Yolanda Vega presents retired New York City firefighter Carmelo Mercado with a giant cheque (New York State Gaming Commission/AP)
Yolanda Vega presents retired New York City firefighter Carmelo Mercado with a giant cheque (New York State Gaming Commission/AP)

A former New York firefighter who responded to the September 11 attacks has won five million dollars (£3.2m) on a lottery scratchcard.

Carmelo Mercado, 63, will receive 3.3 million dollars (£2.1m) in a lump-sum payment after taxes are deducted.

Mr Mercado was among the members of Queens Battalion 49 who went to the World Trade Centre in 2001. He now lives in Orange County, north of New York City.

He was at a Queens store in May when he decided to play the Cash X100 game. His first ticket was not successful so he decided to buy another - the winning ticket.

"I was in shock when I realised I won," he said. "It's a blessing."

He said he already has a list of ideas for what to do with the money, including giving his daughter several American Girl dolls and promising: "This year's Christmas presents will be a little bigger than last year's."

He said he was also planning to buy a holiday home.

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