4 NJ firefighters to be honored for ultimate sacrifice
Four firefighters from the Garden State who passed away too soon are among the 144 to be honored during National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend.
In total, the names of 79 firefighters who died in the line of duty and 65 firefighters who died in previous years will become a permanent part of the National Memorial, which is located in Maryland.
The National Fallen Firefighters Memorial was constructed in 1981 and is surrounded by plaques with the names of the men and women of the fire service who have died in service to their communities.
A series of events is scheduled for May 6-7 in Maryland to honor the firefighters' sacrifices. In addition, all federal buildings will lower their American flags at half-staff on Sunday.
The 2023 Roll of Honor includes the falling New Jersey firefighters:
"Chuck" joined the Jersey City Fire Department in 1979. He was part of the response to the 9/11 terror attacks, and prolonged exposure to contaminated air and toxic chemicals at Ground Zero eventually claimed Chuck's life on March 29, 2018, as a retired captain.
Ronnie joined the Little Falls Fire Department in 1980. He eventually became assistant chief of Company #1 and served in that position from 2007 to 2019. According to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, Ronnie died on April 22, 2020, due to complications from COVID-19.
Alex joined the Upper Saddle River Fire Department at age 18, after volunteering with the local ambulance corps. On Oct. 30, 2022, Alex responded to the fire station for an alarm call, but went home after telling his fellow responders that he wasn't feeling well. Alex's wife later found him deceased in bed from a heart attack.
Basil started his firefighting career at 16, and dedicated 32 years of service as a volunteer for Saddle Brook. According to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, Basil was conducting a training to fire department members on the evening of Nov. 22, 2022. The next morning, he suffered a heart attack and died at a local hospital.