Two Newark firefighters lost their lives fighting a fire aboard a ship in Port Newark this week.

As of writing this post, the fire is contained but still burning aboard. Caller John in Warren knew the deceased firefighters. He served as the battalion chief for the 4th and 5th Company in Newark for many years.

We talked about the 2-hour port authority class that all firefighters in Newark attend to learn about handling a shipboard fire.

John talked about the conversations and unique relationships he had with firefighters Wayne Brooks Jr and Augusto "Augie" Acabou. Both men died in service to our community and their department rushing into danger instead of away from it.

Thankfully there are men like Wayne and Augie who respond to the calling of being a first responder.

For all the men and women who serve as firefighters, nurses, and police officers, we owe each of you a debt of gratitude. Please listen to both parts of my conversation with John here:

After the fire is out and the men are properly laid to rest, we'll start the conversation about training, leadership, and issues surrounding the fire department in Newark.

All leaders involved need to be held accountable for what happened that cost our community two of our Bravest.

Mayor Ras Baraka has been plagued with questions regarding overtime, staffing, training and other issues involving the department.

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka
Newark Mayor Ras Baraka (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

The Port Authority response, including the training, response procedures, and security involving what is being loaded and unloaded at the port needs to be scrutinized.

And of course, there are many questions as to the protocols that were followed or not followed including the preparedness of the crew and ship to contain a serious fire. All valid lines of inquiry as the investigation begins.

Holding public officials accountable should be the first order of business before tragedy strikes. As far as after, although we can't bring back these heroes, we may be able to prevent a similar tragedy in the future.

These towns actually cut their property taxes in 2022

New Jersey 101.5 examined Department of Treasury data to see which municipalities saw an average drop in property taxes last year. Here are the Top 20 average tax cuts followed by the rest.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Spadea. Any opinions expressed are Bill's own. Bill Spadea is on the air weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m., talkin’ Jersey, taking your calls at 1-800-283-1015.

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Up or down? Average property tax changes in NJ in 2022

Below are the average property tax bills for every municipality in New Jersey last year.

The towns are listed from the biggest cut in the average bill to the highest increase. On the county maps, the deeper red color means a higher increase above 2% whereas the darker green signifies a smaller increase or a reduction.

Each listing also shows how the average tax bill is split among the county, school and municipal governments.

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