(GoRealNewsNow.com) – HAPPENING NOW: According to official reports, two firefighters tragically died while attempting to extinguish a fire on a cargo ship docked at Port Newark late Wednesday evening.
Port Authority police and Newark fire departments were dispatched around 9:25 p.m. to Corbin and Marsh streets following reports of multiple vehicles on fire aboard a ship, stated Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka.
The lost firefighters were identified as 45-year-old Augusto Acabou, from Engine 16 Tour 1, who had dedicated nearly ten years of his life to the service, and 49-year-old Wayne Brooks Jr., from Ladder 4 Tour 1, who had served for 16 years.
The fire was aboard the Grande Costa D’avorio, a cargo ship carrying vehicles. Mayor Baraka said numerous vehicles were burning when the firefighters arrived.
Mayor Baraka’s statement described the situation: “Firefighters found the fire on the 10th level of the ship at Berth No. 18, and the fire had spread up to the 12th level. Two emergency distress calls were made when two Newark firefighters became trapped inside the cargo ship.”
A second alarm was sounded around 11:17 p.m., with fire departments from Essex, Bergen, and Union counties responding as well, added Baraka.
Apart from the two who died, several other firefighters were transported to nearby hospitals for treatment, officials confirmed.
Governor Phil Murphy expressed his grief over the incident: “Today, we grieve as we remember two Newark firefighters who gave their lives in service. Our condolences go to their families and loved ones, and we hope for a swift recovery for those injured. This event is a stark reminder of the risks firefighters take and their incredible bravery.”
Newark’s mayor also requested the public’s prayers: “We ask everyone to pray. Pray for Newark, pray for the firefighters here, pray for the families that are mourning,” Baraka said at a press briefing at the site of the fire.
Newark Fire Chief Rufus Jackson explained that the fire began on the ship’s 10th level, with seven vehicles already ablaze when the firefighters reached the site Wednesday night. The extreme heat forced firefighters to retreat. During this, two firefighters were tragically lost, Jackson explained.
The company operating the ship, Grimaldi Deep Sea, a division of the Grimaldi Group, stated that the fire started on the 10th deck while the ship was being loaded with vehicles. The crew promptly activated the ship’s fire control measures while local fire services were alerted. The company added that their quick response was crucial in containing and controlling the fire.
The state and the Port Authority police unions shared their condolences on Twitter on Thursday morning, expressing sympathy for the family members of the fallen firefighters.
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The members of the Port Authority PBA are saddened by the loss of two Newark firefighters while battling a ship fire in Port Newark, NJ. We pray for their families and the Newark Fire Department. #newarkfiredepartment #Newark #PAPD #papdprotectsnynj #PAPBA pic.twitter.com/lMa3fieb8h
— Port Authority PBA (@PAPD911) July 6, 2023