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Officials: Fire aboard cargo ship at Port Newark ‘no longer spreading’

Firefighters Augusto Acabou and Wayne Brooks, Jr. were killed fighting the fire. Five other firefighters were hurt.

Bob Doda

Jul 8, 2023, 2:02 PM

Updated 349 days ago


The fatal fire that has been burning aboard a cargo ship at Port Newark since Wednesday night has been contained on the 11th deck and is “no longer spreading to other areas of the vessel,” the U.S. Coast Guard says.
The Unified Command, which consists of the Coast Guard, the Port Authority, the Newark Fire Department and Gallagher Marine Systems, updated the situation late in the day Saturday.
VIDEO: Below is Chopper 12 video over the cargo ship fire in Port Newark
News 12 was on the scene where crews continued to douse smoldering areas while also dewatering the vessel. Officials say that there are about 5,000 vehicles on the ship.
“Thanks to the dedication of the responders on scene, we have made considerable progress overnight,” said Capt. Zeita Merchant, the captain of the port of New York and New Jersey and federal on-scene coordinator in prepared remarks. “There is still significant work to do, and challenges ahead as we get closer to an end state.”
Officials say the vessel has been “further stabilized” through successful dewatering.
Firefighters Augusto Acabou and Wayne Brooks, Jr. were killed fighting the fire. Five other firefighters were hurt.
At a news conference, Michael Johnson, of Ladder 4, said that Brooks, Jr. “loved the job more than anything.”
“He’s a man’s man. Loved his wife, loved his kids…he respected his fellow man. He respected his fellow woman who came on this job,” said Johnson.
Carlos Enriquez, Acabou’s cousin, remembered his commitment to being a firefighter as “unwavering.”
“His legacy will inspire those who follow in his footsteps. This is who Augie was. He would give you the shirt off his back. He was our hero and we will miss him every day, and continue to live forever,” Enriquez said.
Officials say air monitoring has not detected any hazardous levels in the surrounding area since it began on July 6. They also say there is no “visible pollution or sheen in the water, but it is discolored from soot.”
Water samples were collected Friday and results are expected soon.
The Unified Command news release also addressed a future probe into the fire’s causes:
“A formal investigation will be conducted to identify what caused the fire and subsequent fatalities, and all investigative parties at the federal, state, and local levels as well as the owners, are working closely together during this process.”

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