Firefighter killed while battling cargo ship fire is posthumously promoted during funeral

Jul 13, 2023, 12:43 PM

The casket of Newark firefighter Augusto "Augie" Acabou is carried from the Cathedral Basilica of t...

The casket of Newark firefighter Augusto "Augie" Acabou is carried from the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart with family members and friends in tow during his funeral days after he died battling a fire aboard the Italian-flagged Grande Costa d'Avorio cargo ship at the Port of Newark, Thursday, July 13, 2023, in Newark, N.J. The fire claimed the lives of Acabou and Wayne "Bear" Brooks Jr. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

(AP Photo/John Minchillo)

NEWARK, N.J., (AP) — A firefighter who was fatally injured along with a colleague while battling a massive fire aboard a cargo ship docked in New Jersey last week was posthumously promoted to captain during his funeral service on Thursday.

Hundreds of mourners, including dozens of uniformed firefighters and law enforcement officers, came to the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark to honor Augusto “Augie” Acabou, 45, a Newark native who had been a city firefighter for nine years. He was recalled as a dedicated public servant who was always trying to make his friends and colleagues laugh.

“Our city mourns grievously for one of our heroes — a Newark boy that made his way here with a proud and close-knit family and found a noble and honorable profession,” Newark Mayor Ras Baraka told the mourners. “We close our eyes and bow our heads collectively as one city, knowing that this man that we lay to rest here today was one of the very best amongst us,”

Acabou and another Newark firefighter, Wayne “Bear” Brooks Jr., 49, both died while fighting the July 5 fire aboard the Grande Costa d’Avorio, an Italian-flagged vessel carrying thousands of vehicles and other goods that was docked at Port Newark. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

A funeral service for Brooks will be held Friday.

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Firefighter killed while battling cargo ship fire is posthumously promoted during funeral