‘Way too young’ — Morris County fire recruit, 21, dies in training
A firefighter recruit who was following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather died on Tuesday after collapsing during training nearly a week ago.
Victor Melillo, 21, of Irvington, was jogging in the parking lot of the Morris County Public Safety Training Academy in Parsippany around 9:30 a.m. on March 4, New Jersey FMBA president Ed Donnelly told New Jersey 101.5. He was sent to Morristown Medical Center.
Melillo had no known underlying medical condition, according to Donnelly. He was a recruit with FMBA Local 14.
"It's just one of those tragic accidents. Young kid, way too young. You couldn't ask for better conditions to have some kind of situation," Donnelly said. "You had 55 firefighters around him, some were EMT's so they started CPR immediately as he fell and continued CPR to the hospital and they wound up getting a pulse back at the hospital. He was oxygen deprived for just a little too long."
Melillo comes from a family of firefighters as his father worked with the Belleville FMBA member and his grandfather was a Newark firefighter.
"This kid's got the longevity and the brotherhood in his blood. Just tragic. We're trying to do everything we can to make sure his family is taken care of," Donnelly said.
Donnelly said Melillo's organs are being donated to the New Jersey Sharing Network.
"He'll be able to do what firefighters do all the time and be able to save somebody else in the future," Donnelly said.
Details on a fund to help the family are still being worked out, according to Donnelly. Funeral arrangements were not yet complete Wednesday.
In November, State Police recruit Lucas C. Homeijer, 27, of Boonton, a member of the 161st New Jersey State Police Academy Class, was training at the Academy in Sea Girt when he was injured and lost consciousness during an active countermeasures/boxing bout. He died less than a week later. A specific cause of death has not yet been determined.