First 3 African American firefighters in Newark honored on Friday

NEWARK, New Jersey (WABC) -- It is a tribute that many say is long overdue - the first three African American firefighters in Newark were honored on Friday.

William Thomas, Jr., Shelton Harris, Jr. and the lone survivor - David Lee Bolden, all joined the department after serving in the Korean War. When they came back home, they wanted to serve their city.

Each man served the city through tough times, facing segregation in the department, working through the riots of the 60s, and starting a union for Black firefighters. The tribute was well-deserved.

The firehouse will now be named in their honor, and Bolden, who is now 92, was named an honorable fire chief. He says his work in the department was a labor of love.

The men are all considered pioneers, opening the doors for so many others to become one of Newark's bravest, during a time when they were not welcome.

Today, they are part of a proud team.

In addition on Friday, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka and Public Safety Director Brian O'Hara say that Newark Firefighters will be dispatched to all life-threatening calls for service requiring first responder and emergency medical response.
Firefighters will deliver advanced and basic life support services, including cardiac monitoring and defibrillation, hemorrhage control, airway clearance, initial wound care and more.

Newark Fire Houses will also serve as a Neighborhood First Aid Stations, providing basic first aid for minor injuries such as cuts, bloody noses, splinters, etc.

So that the public knows about the change, new signage has also been posted at each Newark Fire House.

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