2 firefighters killed, 5 injured battling cargo ship fire at Port Newark

Firefighters Wayne Brooks Jr., 49, and Augusto Acabou, 45, were killed.

Lanette Espy, Matt Trapani and Joti Rekhi

Jul 6, 2023, 9:16 AM

Updated 289 days ago

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Fire crews are still on the scene of a major fire at Port Newark that took the lives of two Newark firefighters and injured five others.
The fire aboard the Grande Costa D'Avorio cargo ship reignited around 6 p.m. on Thursday.
Officials say the fire started around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday. Flames from level 10 spread up to level 12 after several vehicles caught fire. About an hour later, a mayday was called as two firefighters became trapped inside the ship.
Officials say that despite heroic efforts, 45-year-old Augusto Acabou and 49-year-old Wayne Brooks, Jr. died.
VIDEO: Below is Chopper 12 video over the cargo ship fire in Port Newark
Three firefighters from Newark and two from Elizabeth were also hurt. Their injuries ranged from burns to heat exhaustion.
More than a dozen agencies were at the scene.
"In any situation where we have a loss of life to the department, community affairs will do a full and complete postmortem,” says Gov. Phil Murphy. “This was, I believe, an Italian flag cargo ship at the Port Authority. I think you're going to have multiple jurisdictions reviewing this postmortem, to try to figure out what happened, why it happened, to prevent it from happening again."
VIDEO: Below is video from the Newark press conference
News 12 crews heard explosions on the ship, likely from the tires on the cars popping due to the damage. Officials say that hundreds of vehicles were in the containers.
Fire crews were also battling temperatures in the 90s – one of the hottest days of 2023 so far.
Social media posts have poured in from the New Jersey State PBA, members of the Port Authority PBA and local fire departments.
Gov. Phil Murphy said in a statement that this tragedy is a painful reminder of the danger firefighters face.
The governor ordered that all state flags fly at half-staff on Friday.
Edward Kelly, general president of the International Association of Firefighters, wrote on Twitter, "Please say a prayer for the safety of the Newark, NJ firefighters battling a difficult ship fire tonight in the Port of Newark."


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