HonoringWayne "Bear" Brooks Jr

Newark, NJ

EOW: July 5, 2023 | Cause: Fire

Age: 49 Tour: 16.5 Years Badge: N/A

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LODD Details

Newark firefighter, Wayne “Bear” Brooks Jr. died while fighting the July 5th fire aboard the Grande Costa d’Avorio, an Italian-flagged vessel carrying thousands of vehicles and other goods that was docked at Port Newark. This 12-story cargo ship, The Grande Costa D’avorio, burned for six-days before being fully extinguished. Tragically the fire claimed the lives of both Brooks and Acabou and injured at least six other firefighters.

It was said that Brooks loved being a firefighter and had a passion for cooking. He often showed off his love for the culinary arts at the firehouse and took pride in making his signature crab cakes and his specialty pizzas for his fellow firefighters. Just weeks before, Brooks and family members relaxed on the deck where I met Terry, quibbling over who was going to use their respective barbeque skills in an unattainable pursuit of the title of backyard grill king. “He wasn’t just my nephew, he was one of my closest friends.”

Wayne was a devoted family man, leaving behind his wife, Michele Brooks and children, Taylor Brooks and Dasia Vaughn. Through the generosity of our donors, we had the honor of hand-delivering vital resources to help ease their financial hardship while mourning.


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First Responder Benefit Association is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.