Valor Award for One of Newark’s Bravest Firefighters for Jackson Street Bridge Rescue

A daring rescue of a man who jumped from a bridge into the Passaic River in Newark's East Ward had officials award one of Newark's bravest firefighters a Valor Award.

According to a statement released by officials, at approximately 6:53 p.m. on July 16, 2018, Newark transmitted "Box 5124" for a report of a jumper in the Passaic River near the Jackson Street Bridge.

Officials say Engine #5 arrived at the scene and reported that a male was in the water; in distress.

A quick decision was made to utilize the Zodiac boat from Ladder #8 in an attempt to rescue the victim officials said in the statement.

While other Newark Firefighters assisted in the operation, Firefighter Mr. Valter Pires , attached to a tether line, entered the river, dragged the boat behind him.

Officials say being in the water presented special risks as the Passaic River and its currents can be unpredictable and there was no way of knowing what unseen obstructions might be encountered. Officials also noted that contamination in the Passaic River is well known, but Newark's Firefighter Valter committed to serving the man who continued to struggle in the water.

With the victim in sight, Pires was able to maneuver to the man and place him in a flotation device then hoisted him into the boat officials said.

Members of Engine #5 then pulled both men back to shore where Firefighter Pires, as well as the victim, were decontaminated.

Officials said while other firefighters performed the stellar operation to save the man, the 200 Club of Essex County feels that Firefighter Valter Pires is deserving of special recognition as he went in the Passaic River with all its dangers and perils.

CONGRATULATIONS to Firefighter Valter Pires and all of Newark's Bravest for saving the man.