Newark firefighters killed in cargo ship fire remembered for impact they had on community

The firefighters died battling a fire on a cargo ship at Port Newark. It started Wednesday evening. Five other firefighters were injured.

Matt Trapani and Eliecer Marte

Jul 7, 2023, 2:21 AM

Updated 319 days ago

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Fallen Newark firefighters Augusto “Augie” Acabou and Wayne Brooks, Jr. are being remembered not just for their service as first responders – but also for the impact they had on the community.
Acabou and Brooks were members of Engine 16 and Ladder 4 respectively in the East Ferry section of Newark. Flowers and balloons were posted outside the firehouse as members of the department came by to mourn. Bunting was erected outside the firehouses and the American flag is at half-staff.
Gov. Phil Murphy has also issued all state flags to fly at half-staff on Friday.
The firefighters died battling a fire on a cargo ship at Port Newark. It started Wednesday evening. Five other firefighters were injured.
VIDEO: Below is Chopper 12 video over the cargo ship fire in Port Newark
“Both firefighters that passed are from my ward. It is a sad day for the city of Newark,” says Newark Council Member Michael Silva.
Acabou, 45, was a firefighter for nearly 10 years and was assigned to Engine 16. News 12 has learned that his body was found by his cousin, who is also a Newark firefighter. The pain at his firehouse is strong and palpable.
“I just can’t imagine what they were going through when they were lost and not able to come out,” says Newark Fire Capt. Jose Alveolar. “I don’t even want to think about that right now. It’s just very emotional.”
Brooks, 49, was a firefighter for 16 and a half years. He was assigned to Ladder 4.
Jason Torres is the manager of a diner across from the firehouse where Wayne was a regular.
“Every time in the morning he would go here and have his breakfast. On Sundays, he would two sandwiches with everything on it and go to the firehouse. It is a big loss. These guys lost a brother, now we have to be there for them as they are for us,” says Torres.
Brooks also worked at Newark Liberty Airport for United Airlines. Acabou had another job as a security officer at JFK University Medical Center in Edison where he worked for over 26 years.
Hackensack Meridian Health issued a statement regarding his death. "Augie will be remembered for his unique combination of compassion and courage, bringing comfort and confidence wherever he responded."
Acabou came from a family of firefighters and had just taken the test to become a captain. Brooks loved being a firefighter but what he loved the most, News 12 is told, was his teenage daughter.


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