Kevin Apuzzio Remembered By Friends, Family, Colleagues On 10th Anniversary Of His Death

Apuzzio 10th Anniversary - 13

Kevin Apuzzio’s family, (left to right) his mother, Marili, father Joseph and sister Leila, unveil a wreath April 11 at his memorial statue on the grounds of the East Franklin Volunteer Fire Company on Pinegrove Avenue.

Fire fighters and other first responders from around the region gathered at the East Franklin Volunteer Fire Company firehouse April 11 to remember one of their own who died in the line of duty.

The occasion was the 10th anniversary of the death of Kevin Apuzzio, a member of East Franklin who was killed the morning of April 11, 2006. Apuzzio, 21, was one of five fire fighters in the process of rescuing a 75-year-old woman trapped in her Whittier Avenue home when the floor collapsed, sending all six into the basement.

Other first responders were able to rescue four of the fire fighters, but could not reach Apuzzio or the woman, Betty Scott, because of the intense fire. Neither survived.

At the time of his death, Apuzzio was also a student at Rutgers University and had taken an exam to become a New York City police officer.

The 10th anniversary event at the Pinegrove Avenue fire house was billed as a celebration of life, rather than a memorial.

Apuzzio’s father, Dr. Joseph Apuzzio, said the day wasn’t just about remembering his son.

“Today, certainly we salute Kevin, but was also salute all of you,” he said. “You’re all heroes.”

“That spirit of volunteerism is really what Kevin was all about,” he said. “This is not a death issue, this is a life issue.”

Apuzzio’s sister, Leila, said that she was sad that she would not be able to make any new memories with her brother, but asked that his friends and colleagues share their stories of him.

“Because that’s how we’re going to continue to keep Kevin’s memory alive,” she said. “That’s the only way I can get new memories of my brother.”

Looking out at the crowd of more than 100 people gathered on the firehouse’s skirt, she said, “Seeing you all here tonight, this is very impactful and means so much to my family.”

State Assemblyman Joe Danielsen (D-17), told the crowd that a bill he has sponsored in the state Legislature would increase survivor benefits for some volunteer emergency workers. The bill is known as “Kevin Apuzzio’s Law.”

“New Jersey must step up and provide reasonable line of duty death benefits to families to ensure that the tragedies don’t continue,” he said.

Fr. Antonio daSilva of St. Mary’s church in New Brunswick told the crowd that Apuzzio “must continue to be our inspiration, our beacon of hope.”

“We must be uplifted by Kevin, remembering the amazing person he was,” he said.

After the ceremony, Joseph Apuzzio said the turnout for the service was “fantastic.”

“It means a lot,” he said. “It means that people haven’t forgot Kevin. To the family, that’s one of the most important things. We don’t want anyone to forget him or what he stood for.”

Also at the event were honor guars from New Brunswick, Perth Amboy and township police, and pipes and drums units from Somerset County and Middlesex County.

2016 Kevin Apuzzio Memorial



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