NEWARK, NEW JERSEY, July 6 (Reuters) – Two New Jersey firefighters were killed and five injured while battling an intense fire overnight on a cargo ship loaded with hundreds of vehicles docked in Port Newark, they said Thursday officials.
The Italian-flagged Greater Ivory Coast was carrying 1,200 new and used vehicles when a fire broke out on her tenth deck on Wednesday at around 10:30 p.m. EST (03:30 GMT), vessel operator Grimaldi Deep Sea said in a note.
As members of the Newark Fire Department responded, the fire quickly spread to the 11th and 12th levels, Chief Rufus Jackson said during a news conference.
Firefighters who battled the flames were driven back by the intense heat, he said.
“Two firefighters were lost as they retreated. Initially searches were made to recover the two firefighters and we were unable to do so,” Jackson said, adding that numerous rescue teams were called to the scene.
The firefighters killed in the blaze were identified as Wayne Brooks Jr., 49, and Augusto Acabou, 45. Five other firefighters sustained smoke and burn injuries and were taken to the hospital, firefighters said. fire.
“This is not a common fire for the City of Newark and the Newark Fire Department,” Jackson said. “It’s a different kind of fire and they’re still willing to put themselves out there.”
Aerial footage by local media Thursday morning showed a fire ship dousing an upper deck of the cargo ship with water as smoke billowed from several burning vehicles.
Port Newark, near New York City, is under the jurisdiction of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. It is among the largest ports in the United States and among the busiest on the East Coast.
It is unclear how the fire started, Grimaldi Deep Sea said, adding that no fuel spill at sea was detected and the vessel’s stability did not appear to have been affected.
The vessel, which had a crew of 28 on board, was carrying cars, vans and mobile equipment, as well as 157 containers. There were no electric cars or dangerous goods on board, the company said.
Additional reporting by Brendan O’Brien and Rami Ayyub; Editing by Hugh Lawson, Mark Porter and David Gregorio
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