BAYONNE, NJ- If not for the selfless quick thinking of three brave Bayonne firefighters on Sunday a family visit to Bayonne could have had a  tragic ending for a four-legged friend of John Donofrio.

This was the second heroic rescue by Bayonne’s first responders in just over 24 hours.

Deciding to take his dog, Bella, for a walk, Donofrio, the brother-in-law of Assemblyman Nick Chiaravalloti, visited Stephen R Gregg Park to enjoy a bit of the sunny winter afternoon.

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Bella suddenly broke loose and launched herself over the bulkhead and into the icy waters of Newark Bay below. Fearing the worst and seeing no way to reach her, John called 911 begging for help. 

Bayonne Fire Department’s Squad 5 was dispatched with the crew, led by the fearless Captain Scott McGimpsey, leaping immediately into action. 

Firefighters Pat McGrath and Jeff Spengler lowered a ladder into the murky water some nearly 20 feet below and McGimpsey began his descent towards the very scared and shivering canine. The experienced firefighter was able to reach out and grab Bella and “pull her real close and high, so if she panicked she would only be able to bite my head," he recalled.

At the top of the ladder were Scott’s teammates who brought Bella up towards solid ground and help reunite her with relieved owner. 

“Every day, the men and women of the Bayonne Fire and Police Departments respond to emergency calls and place themselves in harm’s way to protect us,” Chiaravalloti told TAPinto Bayonne praising the efforts of first responders. “Today, my family benefited from their courage and dedicated service. 

“Bella is an important part of our family. We cannot thank them enough. I am sure she will get an extra portion this Christmas!”


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