Newark, N.J. — Two firefighters were killed early Thursday battling a blaze on a cargo ship at Port Newark,.
The fire broke out around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday in multiple vehicles on the 10th floor of the ship, then spread to the two floors above, authorities said.
Officials confirmed that two firefighters went missing but were eventually found and pronounced dead on the scene.
“Our prayers go out to them, to their families, to their brothers and sisters in the fire department who fought beside them tonight and probably many fires before this one,” Newark Mayor Ras Baraka told reporters. “I saw acts of bravery and comradery today that are unparalleled. And it’s very, very, very traumatic for all of us.”
“Unfortunately, we have a loss. This is a tragedy, something that I, as a chief, never wanted to express,” added Newark Fire Chief Rufus Jackson.
CBS New York learned the ship, called Grande Costa D’Avorio, traveled from Baltimore on a two-day journey. It can carry more than 47,000 tons. It had 5,000 vehicles on board at the time of the fire, Baraka said.
The ship was built in 2011 and sails under the flag of Italy because it’s owned by one of the country’s leading ship companies, a family-owned company called the Grimaldi Group. The company specializes in the maritime transport of vehicles and shipping containers.
The port, officially called the Port Newark Container Terminal, is about 272 acres — the largest container port on the East Coast.
The cause of the fire was under investigation.