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Excessive heat watch issued for New Jersey with sizzling temps in the 90s this week

Port Newark cargo ship fire still burns; funerals set this week for fallen firefighters

Monday was the first time the Port Newark Channel, where the ship is docked, has reopened.

Matt Trapani and Chris Keating

Jul 10, 2023, 9:02 PM

Updated 344 days ago

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A fire aboard a cargo ship that killed two Newark firefighters is still burning after five days, but the United States Coast Guard says that the fire is contained.
Monday was the first time the Port Newark Channel, where the ship is docked, has reopened.
The ship was packed with 1,200 vehicles and 157 containers when the fire started last Wednesday. Firefighters Augusto “Augie” Acabou and Wayne “Bear” Brooks Jr. were killed. Five other firefighters were injured.
City officials say that Acabou and Brooks were not trained in how to respond to a cargo ship fire. They died after becoming trapped.
Gov. Phil Murphy commented Monday on if Port Newark should have its own fire department.
“It’s got to be on the list for consideration, it seems to me,” Murphy said at an unrelated event. "The fact of the matter is, it is a very specific expertise and when the fires do happen, they're substantial."
It was still unclear how the fire began. The Coast Guard and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the cause but cannot do so until the fire is completely out. Officials were also concerned that the ship might capsize due to the water from fighting the fire, but they say that this risk has been reduced.
"The ship's listing has been reduced and is now approximately two degrees. The danger zone is five to six degrees,” the governor said.
Services will be held later this week for Acabou and Brooks. Acabou’s funeral will take place Thursday at Cathedra Basilica in Newark. The 45-year-old was a firefighter for 10 years with Engine 16.
A funeral will be held for Brooks on Friday at Cathedra Basilica in Newark. The 49-year-old was a fireman for 16 years with Ladder 4.
"We are grateful for the outpouring of support the community has extended to Newark firefighters,” a spokesperson for the firefighters union wrote. "We will honor the sacrifice of Augie and Bear by continuing to do the job they loved, so if the people of Newark need help, we are still a phone call away."
A GoFundMe for the families has raised more than $100,000.
Coast Guard officials are monitoring the air and water quality.


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