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South Passaic Daily Voice serves Clifton, Haledon, Hawthorne, Little Falls, North Haledon, Passaic, Paterson, Prospect Park, Totowa, Wayne & Woodland Park

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Off-Duty Wayne Police Recruit, Fiancée Rescue Owner Whose Boat Caught Fire

Township police recruit Al-Raheem Thomas was traveling on Alps Road with his fiancée when they spotted smoke.
Township police recruit Al-Raheem Thomas was traveling on Alps Road with his fiancée when they spotted smoke. Photo Credit: Googlemaps

An off-duty Wayne police recruit and his fiancée rescued a homeowner who was severely burned when his boat caught fire, authorities said.

The Alps Road victim was taken to St. Barnabas Hospital in Livingston after trying to douse the 10:30 a.m. fire himself on Thursday, Detective Capt. Laurence Martin said.

Township police recruit Al-Raheem Thomas was traveling on Alps Road with his fiancée -- Unique Zapata, who's a member of the Wayne Memorial Volunteer First Aid Squad -- when they spotted smoke, Martin said.

Thomas pulled over, ran to the back of the house and found the boat ablaze, the captain said.

Zapapa called 911, then helped Thomas evacuate the elderly residents -- including the homeowner, who was burned on his face and arms, Martin said.

The couple, both 27 of Wayne, treated him until a township first aid rig arrived, the captain said, adding that Wayne Volunteer Fire Companies #5, 2 and 1 quickly responded and extinguished the blaze.

“Tthe homeowner had been working on a boat in the backyard when the carburetor suddenly caught fire,” Martin said.

“We would like to proudly acknowledge the alert response of recruit Thomas and his fiancée along with the volunteer Fire Department and First Aid Squad for their dedication and response to a resident in need,” he added.

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