Funeral Scheduled for New Jersey Deputy Fire Chief

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) -- Hundreds of firefighters are expected to attend funeral services Wednesday for Deputy Fire Chief James D'Heron, who died Friday after rushing alone into a burning house and alerting residents to evacuate.

D'Heron, 51, was the only person hurt in the fire. He was the fifth New Brunswick firefighter to die on duty in a department that dates to 1764, and the first in at least 50 years, Mayor James Cahill has said.

D'Heron's funeral Mass will be at 10 a.m. Wednesday at St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church. It will be followed by a procession to St. Peter's Cemetery on Route 27.

The cause of the fire and the cause of D'Heron's death remained under investigation on Tuesday, said Gary Hirsch, a Cahill spokesman.

D'Heron, who arrived first at the fire scene early Friday, was not wearing protective gear or breathing gear. He was found on a second-floor landing by fellow firefighters, Cahill said.

Thirteen adults and two children escaped safely. Six other residents were not at home, authorities said.

D'Heron had received three citations for heroism during his 24-year career with the professional department, the mayor said, and was promoted to deputy chief in 2001.

He was married with three grown children, and lived in New Brunswick.

D'Heron was the fourth firefighter to die on duty in New Jersey this year.