By Ann Rowland
Cliffside Park, New Jersey volunteer firefighter Cosmo Paris, 59, was returning home Wednesday after a 16 hour fire watch duty in frigid temperatures. While driving home, he suffered an apparent heart attack and was discovered in his car by local police. He was rushed to hospital and pronounced dead a short time later. According to the United States Fire Administration (USFA), Paris is the first firefighter to die in the line of duty in 2014.
“Firefighter Paris responded to an activated alarm which created a hazard in the building necessitating fire officials to order a stand-by at the location for a fire watch. The fire watch duty extended 16 hours in sub-freezing temperatures,” the U.S. Fire Administration said. The USFA is a public service division of FEMA.
Firefighter Paris had served as a volunteer firefighter for 18 years. He was a heating and plumbing specialist and a part-time tow truck operator. However, it was his creativity that made him well known in the community. Paris used recycled vegetable baskets that he collected from local grocers throughout the year, as well as, other recycled materials to build model fire trucks.
This past Halloween, Paris built a 16-foot replica of the Tiller Truck, a two-person operated tractor trailer. His scaled down version is an almost exact replica of the actual truck used by the Cliffside fire department. He placed the truck on his front yard as part of his Halloween display. The New Jersey Firefighter’s Museum is home to another of his creations that have also been highlighted in Independence Day parades.
The Cliffside Park Citizen did an article on Paris last October and his son-in-law told the paper that his creations show the “pride he (Paris) has in being a firefighter.
“Whether I am serving as a firefighter or bringing joy through my creations, I believe in giving back,” Paris told the paper.
Paris leaves behind a wife, 3 daughters, a son-in-law and a granddaughter. His family is requesting donations to Cosmo Paris in lieu of flowers. Arrangements are being handled by McCorry Brothers Funeral Home, 780 Anderson Avenue, Cliffside Park, NJ.
The USFA tribute page for Cosmo Paris states that the “nature of death” was a heart attack caused by “stress and overexertion”.