Jersey City Fire Hero Remembered on 25th Anniversary of Sacrifice

Photos by Ron Jeffers.
  • Photos by Ron Jeffers.

Photos by Ron Jeffers.

The Jersey City Fire Department remembers those who performed the ultimate sacrifice for the city and the department. On the morning of March 20th members gathered in front of 411 Palisade Avenue to remember Firefighter Carlos Negron on the 25th anniversary of his sacrifice.

Negron loved the fire service and before being appointed to the FDJC in 1981, he joined the local fire buff club in 1973, to assist at fire scenes. When he died, he held the title of deputy chief with the volunteer Gong Club organization.

While off duty on that day in 1993, Negron was picking up groceries in his neighborhood and heard shots of “Fire!”  He ran out to investigate and assist his fellow firefighters.  The fire involved an occupied, attached, three-story wood frame dwelling.

First-alarm companies stretched a hose line and began to set up ground ladders against the building.  Overhead power lines made it impossible to set up an aerial ladder.  The members of Truck Co. 7 were placing ground ladders against the front of the structure on slippery snow and ice, along the narrow sidewalk.  A ladder brushed against an overhead high voltage power line and Negron and Firefighter Walter Milne were knocked unconscious by the electric shock.

The incident commander, Deputy Chief Denis Onieal, transmitted second and third alarms and called for ambulance and paramedic units to respond to the scene.

The injured firefighters were transported Christ Hospital, located only a few blocks away. Firefighter Milne was revived and spent some 60 days in St. Barnabas Burn Center, in Livingston.  He later returned to duty.  Firefighter Negron could net be revived.

Chief of Department Steve McGill, and officers and members of the FDJC, Gong Club, family and friends gathered for the brief memorial on a cold March morning, before another predicted nor’ easter.  The chief, and Gong Club Life Member Paul Schaetzle, spoke about Carlos and his dedication.  Negron’s son, Carlos, Jr., was on hand and thanked all for their remembrance of his father.  Negron, Jr., is a Jersey City Medical Center EMT, currently taking courses to become a paramedic.  His sister, Susan Ann, is a Hoboken police dispatcher.

FDJC Chaplain, Reverend James Pagnotta, offered prayers and spoke about Negron’s love for the fire service.  They were friends before Negron became a career firefighter, and would often run into each other at fire scenes – Negron with the Gong Club canteen truck. Reverend Pagnotta described Negron’s service to the community as a “passion.”  He gave his life for that passion.