2 Firefighters Die Responding to Fire at Port Newark

Two Newark firefighters died battling a blaze on board a cargo ship carrying vehicles in the Port of Newark. According to the AP, the ship was carrying roughly 5,000 cars. The fire broke out around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday on the ship docked by Corbin and Marsh streets. The flames started on the 10th floor and spread to the two above.

Newark Fire Chief Rufus Jackson identified them as 49-year-old Wayne Brooks Jr. and 45-year-old Augusto Acabou, both members of Engine 16 on the city’s east side. Three other firefighters from Newark and two from Elizabeth were also injured.

The firefighters “made an attempt to extinguish the fire and, because of the intense heat, they got pushed back out of the area where the initial fire was,” Chief Rufus Jackson said in a news conference early Thursday.

“There was a mayday. We had one of our brothers was lost within the fire. We had the brave men and women of the Newark Fire Department made the ultimate sacrifice to bring this individual out, and made multiple efforts under extreme conditions, extreme heat,” Chief Jackson said. “They were able to bring Firefighter Acabou out. Then, we had another mayday, which was Firefighter Wayne Brooks.”

“Our hearts are heavy today as we mourn the loss of two Newark firefighters who made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty,” Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy said in a statement. “This tragedy is a painful reminder of the dangers our firefighters face and their remarkable courage.”

“We lost two firefighters today,” said Newark Mayor Ras Baraka at the scene. “A tragedy for us in the city of Newark and tragic for all firefighters who know what it means to go in a burning structure in a danger that you are going to have to experience when you do so.”

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