Perth Amboy, New Jersey career firefighter Richard Leonard, 70, died in the line of duty July 30, 24 years after inhaling toxic smoke at an industrial recycling plant fire.
The U.S. Fire Administration ruled that Leonard died of exposure having worked for hours in highly toxic smoke to put out burning plastic in without SCBA on April 19, 1993. He never returned to duty and spent the rest of his years battling illnesses.
Perth Amboy Fire Department is giving Leonard a full firefighter’s funeral.
The wake services will be held Aug. 3 at George S. Hassler Funeral Home, 980 Bennetts Mills Road, Jackson Township, N.J. Public viewing will be from 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. The funeral services will be held Aug. 4 at St. Aloysius Roman Catholic Church, 935 Bennetts Mills Road, Jackson Township, N.J. at 9 a.m.
Perth Amboy fire officials ask that all out of town fire departments attending the funeral services be at St. Aloysius Church by 8 a.m. to line up a “sea of blue” for the procession from the funeral home to the church, and then to attend the 9 a.m. mass with memorial services immediately following outside. Please do not bring fire apparatus as parking may be limited the day of the funeral. Any outside agencies attending please email a headcount to firstname.lastname@example.org.
According to his obituary, Leonard joined Perth Amboy Fire Department in 1987 and served as fire commissioner for Jackson Township Fire District 4, station 54 since 2003.
Leonard leaves behind his wife of 47 years, three children, three granddaughters and his mother.