NJ Firefighter, 89, Dies After Responding to Crash

Firefighter fatality

Amanda Hoover

nj.com

(MCT)

A New Jersey fire department is grieving the loss of an 89-year-old firefighter affectionately known as “Pop” who died Saturday morning after responding to a car crash.

Nicholas Prioli suffered a medical emergency while walking home from the firehouse, said Chief Timothy Carson, head of the Jackson Township Volunteer Fire Company No. 1, Station 55. He had returned with other firefighters after responding to a car crash, but stayed back alone and later tried to walk home.

“He was notorious for staying at the firehouse,” Carson said. “He was always here.”

Firefighters referred to Prioli as “Pop,” because he filled a fatherly role for so many during his 26 years of service and was the “heart and soul of the firehouse,” Carson said. He joined at the age of 63 after retiring from a career as a chemist. He trained every member of the department in CPR.

Carson said someone attempted CPR on Prioli upon finding him Saturday.

“It just warms my heart that someone was able to at least try and perform CPR on him,” he said.

Prioli was the department’s safety officer and treasurer, and an honorary chief. He served alongside his grandson, an assistant chief in the firehouse.

Prioli continued to complete difficult trainings even as he aged, including one that required him to escape a building on a rope head first. Carson said Prioli insisted on keeping his certifications up to date, even when that meant keeping up with much younger firefighters.

“The amount of lives that he’s touched from training is incredible,” Carson said. “It took us hours to make phone calls to current and past members — people he’s taken under his wing, to make them a better firefighter. We lost a great man. The best guy.”

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Amanda Hoover can be reached at ahoover@njadvancemedia.com.

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