Police & Fire

Injured Newark firefighter on his way to recovery

9738470429eab7a68604_Firefighter_Leber_010918.jpg
Newark Firefighter Paul Leber, who was injured during a December 30 fire in Newark, was released Tuesday from Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx and transported to Kessler Institute in West Orange. Credits: City of Newark
7e48f440b445dbf84f4b_Firefighter_Leber2_010918.jpg
Injured Newark Firefighter Paul Leber with family members at Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation in West Orange. Credits: City of Newark
9738470429eab7a68604_Firefighter_Leber_010918.jpg

Newark, NJ--One of Newark's bravest is on his way to recovery.

Newark Firefighter Paul Leber, who was injured while fighting a fire last month in Newark, was released Tuesday from Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx and was transported under police escort to Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation in West Orange.

Leber, 38, along with other members of Newark Fire Division Engine 7, responded to the two-alarm fire at Velez Tire Shop at 8 Park Avenue in the city's North Ward on the evening of Dec. 30 but were eventually ordered out of the building as conditions worsened.

Sign Up for E-News

Leber, a 10-year veteran of the department, became disoriented when exiting the building and was pulled to safety after members of Engine 7 and Rescue 1 went back inside the building to rescue him.

Leber suffered severe burns to his face and lungs and was airlifted in critical condition from Newark's University Hospital to Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx. He will now continue his recovery at Kessler.

The cause and origins of the fire remain under investigation by arson detectives from the Newark Fire Division.

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka praised Leber for his bravery.

 “We are honored to have a firefighter who is so committed to the safety of our city that he put his own life on the line for it,” Baraka said. “His selfless act of bravery serves as a brilliant example to firefighters everywhere. We continue to pray for Firefighter Leber’s swift recovery.”

Public Safety Director Anthony F. Ambrose also lauded Leber for his heroism.

“We are grateful to see Firefighter Leber’s progress following his serious injuries,” Ambrose said. “And we are also proud of his heroic act on behalf of the City of Newark. I am also thankful to Jacobi Medical Center for the special care they provided to assist our firefighter in his ongoing recovery.”

Leber, a Passaic native, joined the department after graduating from Bergen County Fire Academy and serving in the U.S. Navy.

A GoFundMe campaign started for Leber on January 4 by fellow firefighter Mark Wolf has already raised more than $15,000 for the injured firefighter and his family.

"Thanks to his firefighter brothers, Paul was saved,"  Wolf wrote. "Hopefully he will be back with his crew at at Engine 7 soon! Aside from being a Newark firefighter, Paul has served our great country in the Navy. He is a great friend and will have your back without hesitation. Paul is loved by family and friends, even brothers of the FDNY and NYPD who have been extremely supportive during his recovery. Keep fighting Paul, you have many people in your corner."

A Facebook photo on Leber's timeline shows dozens of NFD firefighters lined up along a hallway at University Hospital on the night of the fire waiting for Leber to be airlifted out.

"Your engine is waiting for you brother," one fellow firefighter wrote. "Will keep those prayers going."

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Newark

Newark's iconic Bell Building slated for mixed-use conversion

January 18, 2018

Newark, NJ—Newark’s iconic Bell building may be Newark's next hot spot.

Built in 1929 and designed for the New Jersey Bell Telephone Company, the 21-story tower—located on Broad Street in downtown Newark—is being converted into a mixed use project by 540 Broad Street LLC, a joint venture comprised of principal partners L+M Development Partners, Inc., ...

City economic development agency paid Baraka confidants $100,000

January 12, 2018

Newark, NJ--The Newark Community Economic Development Corporation (NCEDC) paid more than $100,000 to the consulting firm owned by Kiburi Tucker and Linda Jumah, who have both pleaded guilty federal charges of tax evasion.

NCEDC's one-year contract with Elite Strategies shows the firm billed the city's economic development agency $6,000 for 24 hours of "executive ...

Essex County Turtle Back Zoo Welcomes 907,522 Visitors in 2017

January 8, 2018

The Essex County Turtle Back Zoo finished 2017 with an all-time record attendance of 907,522, marking the first time that attendance has eclipsed the 900,000 mark. It was also the 13th-consecutive year that a new annual attendance record was established.

Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. said the large turnout of visitors each year shows how popular the zoo has ...

OPINION: The Power of the World Lies in the Gentle yet Strong Hands of the Women of this Nation.

January 20, 2018

Today women from across this nation and world will come together to build upon and continue the movement for women’s rights; from equality and equity to employment and equal pay. 

Last year millions of women marched in cities across this nation and world – in fact, many of you joined together to represent our sisters, our mothers, our aunts, grandmothers, nieces, and ...

Where are the women of color in the #MeToo Movement?

January 8, 2018

As one of only two women on the City Council in Newark, I have been following the growing #MeToo movement with great interest. 

I am thrilled that so many women finally feel comfortable enough to come forward and tell their story of sexual harassment and abuse at the hands of powerful men.

At the same time, I am also disheartened that so few of those coming forward have been women of ...