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Christie orders flags flown at half-staff for Wallington Fire Capt. Greg Barnas

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo
Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot
Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot
Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot
Photo Credit: contributors
Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

TRIBUTE: Gov. Christie this afternoon issued a proclamation directing that flags at the State House building be flown at half-staff tomorrow through next Wednesday in honor of fallen fire Capt. Gregory Barnas.

The wake for Barnas, 57, who died fighting an overnight restaurant fire in Wallington last Friday, is set for tomorrow from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. at Warner-Wozniak Funeral home on Midland Avenue.

CLICK HERE for proclamation

Thousands of firefighters, emergency workers and citizens are expected for a memorial procession that will pass through Wallington on Friday for the funeral.

Local police and county Office of Emergency Management officials have been coordinating Friday’s events, which will close much of the town to vehicular traffic.

The procession is to leave the funeral home around 10 a.m. for an 11 a.m. Mass at Most Sacred Heart of Jesus R.C. Church on Paterson Avenue.

It will head south on Main Avenue to Locust Avenue, then continue to Paterson Avenue.

Following the service, the group will move to Wallington Fire Department Truck Company 1 on Union Boulevard for the final alarm observance.

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PARKING / STREET CLOSURES

Tomorrow (noon – 9 p.m.): All uniformed fire personnel are asked to report to the Garfield Walmart, 174 Passaic St. Family members and others are asked to park at Farmland Dairies, 520 Main Ave.

( CLOSURES: Midland Avenue from Main Avenue to River Drive will be closed from 1 – 10 p.m.)

Friday (7 a.m. – 4 p.m.): Everyone is asked to park in the former Food Basic lot, 325 Paterson Ave. Beginning at 8 a.m., shuttle buses will run to a drop-off point within a few blocks of the church.

( CLOSURES: 7:30 – 11 a.m. : Midland Avenue from Main Avenue to River Drive, and the 8th Street bridge;

10 – 11 a.m. : Main Avenue from the South Hackensack border to the 8th Street bridge, and Locust Avenue from Main Avenue to Paterson Avenue;

7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. : All of Paterson Avenue in Wallington, and Jersey Street and Union Place in East Rutherford.

Side streets between Main and Locust avenues will be closed from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.)

*      *      *      *      *      *

In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that contributions be made to either Hackensack University Medical Center’s Bone Marrow Transplant Fund or the Saint Barnabas Burn Foundation.

Greg Barnas had been donating blood cells for one of his sons, who is undergoing chemo for cancer.

A memorial FACEBOOK page has been set up ( CLICK on image ):

Authorities said he was cutting a hole in the roof to vent the Akasaka restaurant on Paterson Avenue when he fell.

The captain was later pronounced dead at Hackensack University Medical Center, as a large group of firefighters — still in their gear — kept a vigil.

“What could we say? He was doing his job,” Fire Commissioner Mark Tomko said. Barnas’ two sons, firefighters Kevin and John Barnas, were battling the blaze, as well.

The fire broke out just before 1:30 a.m. and went to two alarms. Besides Wallington, companies responded from Rutherford (FAST), East Rutherford, Carlstadt, Lodi, Garfield and Wood Ridge.

Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli said it appears the fire began in a malfunctioning kitchen electrical fixture.

“Our prayers are with the brave firefighter,” the prosecutor said.

“Barney” was a teenager when he joined the volunteer department in 1972, serving as chief five years later. He was also a career Jersey City paid firefighter, most recently serving as captain of Ladder Co. 6, one of the city’s busiest.

An instructor, Barnas taught high-ladder rescue operations nationwide.

He also had a cottage near Elk Lake, Pa., and while vacationing spent time volunteering at the Waymart, Browndale and Whites Crossing fire companies.

Barnas attended Don Bosco Prep in Ramsey and was graduated from Rutgers-Newark in 1978.

He is survived by his sons and wife, Patricia.

“Capt. Barney was a good and knowledgeable man when it can to firefighting. I truly learned a lot from [him],” wrote Ryan Meyers. “The volunteer fire service is definitely like a brotherhood. When you [lose] one it is like [losing] a family member.”

“I’ve known Barney my entire life,” added Kim Fedor. “[M]y father (Kenny Gajda) is also a member of Truck Co. 1, and I grew up down the street from him.

“There is so little comfort that words can bring at this time, but may some peace come to his family knowing that the community and other family members of Truck Co. 1 will remember Barney lovingly, with much respect and with great gratitude for his service.”

* * * * * *

CLIFFVIEW PILOT gratefully thanks the many photo contributors, now and always ….

* * * * * *

When I am called to duty, God
whenever flames may rage,
give me the strength to save some life
Whatever be its age.

Help me to embrace a little child
before it’s too late,
or some older person
from the horror of that fate.

Enable me to be alert
and hear the weakest shout,
and quickly and efficiently
to put the fire out.

I want to fill my calling
and give the best in me,
to guard my neighbor
and protect his property.

and if according to my fate
I am to lose my life,
Please bless with your protecting hand
my children and my wife.

– Author Unknown

* * * * * *

“Our prayers are with the brave firefighter,” he said. – See more at: http://www.northjersey.com/topstories/wallington/Wallington_firefighter_dies_while_battling_blaze.html?page=all#sthash.Gp0WAf12.dpuf

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