Firefighter killed while battling cargo ship fire is posthumously promoted during funeral
Jul 14, 2023, 12:07 PM | Updated: 12:26 pm
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — The second of two firefighters who were fatally injured 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 Friday.
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 Wayne “Bear” Brooks Jr., 49, who was a Newark firefighter for 16 years. Brooks was remembered as a dedicated public servant with a big personality who was always smiling.
“(Firefighters) don’t have the luxury of staying home, turning around and changing their mind,” Newark Mayor Ras Baraka told mourners. “There are men and women who put on the uniform every day and put their lives on the line for us and we don’t even say thank you. We thank you for your service.”
Brooks’ funeral came a day after a service was held at the same church for his fallen colleague, Augusto “Augie” Acabou, 45, who also was posthumously promoted to captain.
The two firefighters were killed 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.