NEWARK - For the second time in as many days, a fallen hero's family and friends gathered in Newark to say goodbye to a fallen hero.
Newark firefighter Wayne Brooks Jr. died last Wednesday alongside fellow firefighter Augusto Acabou while battling a massive blaze onboard a cargo ship at Port Newark.
"It's part of the perils we all face. It could happen to any of us. So this brotherhood extends way beyond any one fire department," said Carl Heitmeyer, deputy chief (ret.) of the Elizabeth Fire Dept.
Brooks joined the department 16 years ago, fulfilling a dream of being a first responder. He also successfully passed the entrance exam for the Newark Police Department, but his heart was in firefighting.
"Wayne has always been that type of person that's gonna take the lead and solving a problem instead of creating an issue," said Jason Brooks, Wayne's brother.
Standing well over 6 feet tall, Wayne Brooks was nicknamed "Bear" by those who knew and loved him.
"No one, no legend, no hero is never truly gone unless those memories that you had of them fade," Brooks' nephew, Kaiden Brooks, told mourners.
As was the case with Augusto Acabou, the city of Newark posthumously promoted Brooks to the rank of captain.