NJFMBA Mourns Passing of Passaic Firefighter Israel Tolentino Due to COVID-19

NJFMBA President Eddie Donnelly released the following statement on the passing of Passaic firefighter Israel Tolentino, the first firefighter fatality due to COVID-19:

‘Israel Tolentino, rest easy brother.

Earlier today we received the devastating news that Passaic Firefighter Local 13 member Israel Tolentino lost his life to COVID-19, coronavirus.

We can’t provide him with a true firefighter’s funeral. We can’t have hundreds of firefighters at his house playing with his children and consoling his wife and family. We can’t have food sent to a grieving family and friends because no one can gather. We couldn’t spend time with him in the hospital when he took his final breaths because no visitors are allowed.

This is hardest for our members because this is so out of character for us.  We take care of our own, and while it may not be today, we will give our brother the tribute he deserves.

This is the true impact of the devastating coronavirus, and a reminder of the added danger firefighters, EMTs, and dispatchers, as well as other first responders and health care providers, face every shift we report for.

The increased risk of exposure is exactly why the NJ FMBA has been fighting every single day to make sure that our members are equipped with the knowledge, and equipment, needed to keep us as safe as possible during this extraordinary time.

While washing hands and practicing social distancing is good advice for the general public, it is not enough for the men and women of the fire service.This was why it was imperative that we got access to information sharing related to positive COVID-19 cases, recognizing that no firefighter or EMT should have to respond to a call before being made aware of the additional hazards.

Now, more than ever, we must look out for ourselves, and each other. That means both physically and mentally.

While we continue to protect the front lines of our communities, your Union will forge forward on the front lines of State and Federal policymaking by bringing forth legislation and new initiatives that will provide the protections we greatly need and richly deserve.

As we look towards a brighter and more certain future, today we pray for our brother Israel, his family and our brothers and sisters in Local 13/213

As more information becomes available, we will share it.’

Tolentino, 33, was married with two children.

Passaic Mayor Lora offered the following tribute on Facebook to Tolentino:

‘It is with deep sorrow that we announce the Line of Duty death of Passaic FF Israel Tolentino 33 years old, FF Tolentino courageously fought this illness but succumbed to complications from the COVID-19.

He leaves behind his wife Maria and two children, daughter age 9 and son age 7. He joined the Passaic Fire Department on December 10, 2018 fulfilling his lifelong dream of becoming a Firefighter and serving others. FF Tolentino also served as a EMT on his days off. Israel was a great Firefighter, person, husband, son and father. We ask for your thoughts and prayers for him and his family.

In 2017 Israel Tolentino Jr along with his wife, family, and friends held a coat drive for our needy families in Passaic, in 2018 he fulfilled his dream of becoming a firefighter in our city, he was an EMT and served as a volunteer member of CERT, OEM in our city. He was a husband, a father, and a first responder. Today our city mourns his loss along with all those that have lost their lives due to COVID-19

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Con profundo dolor anunciamos la muerte de uno de nuestro bomberos en Passaic FF Israel Tolentino, de 33 años, Bombero Tolentino luchó valientemente contra esta enfermedad pero sucumbió a las complicaciones del COVID-19.

Deja a su esposa María y sus dos hijos, una hija de 9 años y un hijo de 7 años. Se unió al Departamento de Bomberos de Passaic el 10 de diciembre de 2018, cumpliendo su sueño de convertirse en un Bombero y servir a los demás. FF Tolentino también se desempeñó como EMT en sus días libres. Israel fue un gran bombero, persona, esposo, hijo y padre. Le pedimos sus pensamientos y oraciones por él y su familia.

En 2017, Israel Tolentino Jr junto con su esposa, familia y amigos llevaron a cabo una búsqueda de abrigos para nuestras familias necesitadas en Passaic, en 2018 cumplió su sueño de convertirse en bombero en nuestra ciudad, fue un EMT y sirvió como miembro voluntario de CERT, OEM en nuestra ciudad. Era esposo, padre y primer respondedor. Hoy nuestra ciudad lamenta su pérdida junto con todos aquellos que han perdido la vida debido a COVID-19′

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