JACKSON TOWNSHIP, NJ (Via JPD) – On October 23, 2021, Honorary Chief Nicholas A. Prioli of the Jackson Volunteer Fire Company No. 1 and Jackson Fire District 3, Jackson Fire Station 55, lost his life in the line of duty on a fire call. At 2:46 a.m., Honorary Chief Prioli responded when Jackson Fire Station 55 was dispatched to a vehicle extrication for an overturned vehicle on North Hope Chapel Road in Jackson, to assist Whitesville Fire Company, Jackson Station 57, Jackson Fire District 2. Jackson Station 55 units were cancelled while enroute and returned to the firehouse.
Upon returning to the firehouse, Hon. Chief Prioli found that his vehicle would not start, and he began to walk to his home. While walking, Chief Prioli experienced a serious medical event. At approximately 3:35 a.m., a passing motorist observed Chief Prioli lying on the side of the road, made a U-turn, called 9-1-1, and found Chief Prioli unconscious and unresponsive. The citizen initiated CPR.
Responding Jackson Police Officers took over CPR, and attempted defibrillation procedures. Jackson Emergency Medical Services and Robert Wood Johnson – Barnabas Health Care Paramedics arrived and provided advanced EMS medical care. Chief Prioli was unable to be resuscitated and was pronounced deceased at the scene at 4:07 a.m.
Chief Prioli was a 26 year Life Member of the Jackson Volunteer Fire Company No, 1. He was among the top ten responders every year during his entire tenure. He was currently serving as Fire Safety Officer, overseeing the safety of operations at fire and rescue scenes, and administering to the bureaucracy of duty related injuries and illnesses. He was Treasurer of the Fire Company for 20 years. He was a training officer for the Fire Company, doing all CPR and other mandatory training, as well as rope and high angle rescue training. He served as hall rental manager for the Fire Company for many years and handled many Christenings, birthdays, retirements, sweet sixteens and fifteens, and more than a few weddings. He had previously served as publicly elected Fire Commissioner for Fire District 3. Chief Prioli was also an Emergency Medical Technician and an active Life Member of the Howell Township First Aid and Rescue Squad. His incredible commitment and contribution to the Fire Company and to the Jackson and Howell communities led to the Fire Company electing him to the rare honor of Honorary Chief of Department.
At 89 years old, Chief Prioli was a vibrant and active gentleman. He was a friendly, humble, selfless, and generous man who served as a mentor and father figure as a Firefighter, an EMT, and as a friend. He was always there to listen and
to talk, and always there to give a helping hand. His loss is devastating not just to the Fire Company and to the Fire District, and to Howell First Aid and Rescue, but to each of us individually as well.
First responders responding to, or returning from, an emergency call are performing their duties. Chief Prioli lost his life in the line of duty. A line of duty funeral will be held for Chief Prioli with viewing services on Friday, October 29, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Jackson Volunteer Fire Company No. 1 firehouse at 113 North New Prospect Road, Jackson, NJ, and a funeral Mass on October 30 at 9:30 a.m. at St. Veronica’s Church, Howell, NJ. Interment will follow at St. Mary of the Lake Cemetery in Lakewood, NJ.
Members of the public who would like to attend and pay their respects to Chief Prioli at the viewing are asked for 2-4 p.m. to park to the right side rear of the firehouse and/or follow directions of fire and police personnel, and from 7-9 p.m. to park at the Howard C. Johnson School at 1021 Larsen Road, Jackson. At funeral Mass and interment, please follow directions of police officers and fire personnel.
Any attending fire, police, or EMS agencies are requested to utilize support vehicles as much as possible rather than fire apparatus sized vehicles due to traffic and parking logistics. Otherwise, please contact Chief Fire Coordinator Brian Gabriel of the Ocean County Fire Marshal’s Office, so that appropriate arrangements can be made.