NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — A deputy fire chief died early Friday after rushing alone into a burning home and alerting residents to evacuate, officials said.
James D'Heron, wearing no protective or breathing gear, was found on a second-floor landing by fellow firefighters, Mayor James Cahill said.
He had been the first firefighter on the scene.
D'Heron, 51, was pronounced dead at the scene. Thirteen adults and two children escaped safely; no others were hurt.
D'Heron had received three citations for heroism during his 24-year career, the mayor said. "So you can see that today was typical," he said.
The cause of the fire was not immediately determined. Officials said firefighters discovered three propane tanks, which are illegal to have inside a house.
D'Heron was the city's first firefighter to die in at least 50 years, Cahill said. D'Heron was married with three children.