PATERSON — The man who fatally fell 20 feet down a cliff riding his mountain bike in a North Jersey park was a Paterson firefighter.

Kerry Rivera, 49, of Wayne lost control of the bike during a ride with his brother inside the Nose Reservation at Mills Reservation County Park in Cedar Grove on Monday morning.

End of watch badge for Paterson fire fighter Kelly Rivera
End of watch badge for Paterson fire fighter Kelly Rivera (Paterson Fire Dept.)

In a post on its Facebook page titled "Paterson lost hero," the department said the 13-year veteran was married and had three children.

"Kerry Rivera never wavered in his commitment to keeping our city safe, and since 2003 put himself between danger and the residents he bravely protected countless times," the department wrote.

"It's tragic. A very said day for our guys in Paterson. Guy was out there exercising and taking care of himself and a tragic accident happens," Edward Donnelly, president of the Fireman's Mutual Benevolent Association, told New Jersey 101.5.

Rivera's brother was not injured, and called 911 to get help for Rivera.

Dominick Marino, president of the Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey, said "we are saddened by the loss of firefighter Rivera our thoughts are with his family." The Paterson Fire Department is not a member of the association.

Rivera's wife Rena, told he has just started riding a bicycle on a regular basis and loved being a firefighter.

Funeral arrangements have not been announced.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at

More from New Jersey 101.5: