21-Year-Old Firefighter Recruit from New Jersey Dies after Collapsing during Training

Jené Liebenberg
Mar 11, 2021
06:20 P.M.

The Morris County Board of County Commissioners issued a statement offering their condolences after the death of 21-year-old Victor Melillo, a firefighter recruit.


21-year-old Victor Melillo, a firefighter recruit with the Irvington Fire Department, died March 9, 2021. Melillo was in the middle of training when he collapsed in the parking lot a few days prior.

First responders were on the scene to help Melillo, who was immediately transported to the hospital from the Morris County Public Safety Training Academy, where he was admitted to the critical care unit.

Firefighter sitting on the steps. | Source: Pexels/ Pixabay

Firefighter sitting on the steps. | Source: Pexels/ Pixabay


The Morris County Board of County Commissioners released a statement on their website sharing the news of the firefighter recruit's tragic passing and offering their condolences to his family and friends.


The statement did not include the details surrounding Melilo’s passing, only that he collapsed in the midst of training, which led to his hospital admission. Their statement elaborates on the incident and reads:

“Mr. Melillo, 21, collapsed at about 9:33 a.m. March 4, Thursday, during a training exercise in the parking lot of the Morris County Public Safety Training Academy.”


A friend of the 21-year-old, Alexis Kordas, has set up a GoFundMe page to help Melilo’s family with his funeral expenses. Kordas provided insight into who the aspiring firefighter was and the legacy that he leaves behind.


Ricky Rojas Jr. was killed after being hit by a car, but the teenager performed a heroic act by pushing his friends out of the way.

Kordas elaborated on Melillo's death circumstances, sharing that resuscitation was attempted after being transported to Morristown Medical Center. Still, the young man was pronounced brain dead after a few minutes.



The GoFundMe page description also revealed that Melilos was aiming to become a second-generation firefighter as he was following in the footsteps of his father, who tragically passed away only nine months before his son. It reads:

“Victor’s dad was the captain of the fire department in Belleville for over 25 years. Victor always wanted to follow in his fathers footsteps.”

Melillo continues to make a positive contribution even after his death as he was a registered organ donor. He is described by his friend as warm-hearted and loving, evidence of the type of person that Melilo was to those around him.



The New Jersey community has not been the only one that has suffered the premature loss of one of their members as a family in Texas has been mourning the death of their 14-year-old son.

Ricky Rojas Jr. was killed after being hit by a car, but the teenager performed a heroic act by pushing his friends out of the way before suffering the lethal blow himself.


Rojas was making his way to the store with his two friends when the tragic accident occurred. His friends recalled how the teen pushed them out of the way before he was hit by the vehicle.

The 14-year-old was unresponsive after the accident took place, leaving his friends struck with panic in the aftermath. Neither the driver’s identity nor the reason behind the crash has been made known by the investigating authorities.

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