Memorial Mass held in honor of fallen Perth Amboy firefighter

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A memorial Mass was held Saturday in Perth Amboy in honor of a firefighter who died last month.

The celebration of life and service took place at the Ukrainian Assumption Cemetery on Florida Grove as the fire department and firefighters from throughout the state gathered to salute one of their own.

Firefighter Douglas Ambrozewycz was badly burned during a fire in 1983. As part of his recovery, he was given blood transfusions that were unwittingly carrying the hepatitis C virus. It was that virus that killed him last month.

"If you lose your life due to a fire in the performance of your duties or even after the fact due to complications, it's extremely tragic for the fire service as a whole and for the families," says Chief Edward Mullen of the Perth Amboy Fire Department.

Since Ambrozewycz  contracted the disease that killed him while being treated for on the job injuries, it is considered a line of duty death. It's the 20th in department history.

Ambrozewycz was fighting a fire inside a bakery in December 1983 when he fell through a floor. He suffered burns over 23 percent of his body, most of them on his legs and hands.

Though he recovered and spent 15 more years working in Perth Amboy before moving to Dunellen, the hepatitis started causing him more health problems a few years ago.

He died in North Carolina in June. A funeral service was held there but the department wanted a memorial Mass to give him one last sendoff.

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