NJ firefighter, FD president, dies from COVID-19 complications
Signac Firefighter and Little Falls Fire Department President Michael Burke is being remembered for his commitment, compassion and "laughter that could fill a room"
NJ Advance Media Group, Edison, N.J.
LITTLE FALLS, N.J. —A Little Falls firefighter died from complications with the coronavirus, township fire and police officials announced.
Michael Burke died Monday after battling the coronavirus, according to several Facebook posts from the township police union and township fire companies. Burke served at the township’s Singac Fire Company and was the president of the Little Falls Fire Department.
“As all know, he was one of the most passionate men in this world,” the Singac Fire Company said in a post. “A man that would do basically anything for anyone, a man that always left his mark no matter where he went.”
“Honor, integrity, bravery, commitment, compassionate are only a few words to describe Mike’s personality,” the PBA 346, the Little Falls Police union, said in a post.
Enterprise Fire Co. 2 called Burke a “true hero.”
“He had a contagious smile and laughter that could fill a room. He led the Little Falls Fire Department with pride and perseverance, while valuing tradition,” they wrote in a Facebook post.
Burke is one of the latest first responders to succumb to the virus that has ravaged front-liners across New Jersey and the world at large. Earlier this month, Passaic firefighter Israel Tolentino Jr. died from complications with the coronavirus.
Last week, Kevin Leiva, an EMT in North Bergen and in Passaic, also died from complications with the virus. On Easter Sunday, AlTerek Patterson, a Bedminster police sergeant, became the second police officer in New Jersey to die from complications with the virus.
First responders like police officers, firefighters and EMTs are faced with the grim reality that they likely cannot avoid the coronavirus, as they respond to medical and emergency calls and come in close contact with people who may be infected.
©2020 NJ Advance Media Group, Edison, N.J.