Remembering a trailblazing Bayonne firefighter

Fire Lieutenant Richard Burroughs was the first African American fire officer in the city

Retired Bayonne Fire Lieutenant Richard Burroughs Sr., a veteran of the United States Air Force and the very first African American Bayonne fire officer passed away on July 24, according to Mayor James Davis.

He served on the Bayonne Fire Department for 37 years.

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He earned the ‘first officer’ distinction when was promoted to lieutenant in 1991.

His funeral will be on Wednesday, August 10 at Watson Mortuary Service at 26 Gifford Avenue in Jersey City. The viewing will be from 12 to 4 p.m. and the service will be from 4 to 6 p.m.

Davis paid homage to Burroughs in a statement on social media, acknowledging his passing “with great sadness.”

“To the entire Burroughs family, I want to extend my condolences, on behalf of our entire community,” Davis said. “We thank Lt Burroughs for his service to our country and to our city. Rest In Peace.”

Paying tribute to Richard Burroughs Sr.

Black in Bayonne also posted a tribute to Burroughs on social media: “May the ancestors reward you for your good service here on Earth.”

The non-profit also noted that only 6.8 percent of firefighters in the United States are African American. Additionally, Black in Bayonne encouraged people of color to apply to the Fire Department.

“What better way to honor the legacy of Lt. Burroughs Sr. then to ensure that more Black firefighters are appointed to the Bayonne Fire Department,” according to Black in Bayonne.

The Bayonne Fire Department is looking for new recruits. Apply online at until August 30.

“We thank you for breaking barriers within the city of Bayonne,” Black in Bayonne added, addressing Burroughs. “Because of you we can!”

For updates on this and other stories, check and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at

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