By Anthony G. Attrino | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
Paterson is mourning the death of the city’s assistant fire chief, a veteran first-responder who died suddenly this week at age 60.
Gabriel “Gabe” Aboyoun died after suffering an apparent heart attack at his home. His body was discovered Wednesday morning after a firefighter went there for a welfare check, said Police Director Jerry Speziale.
“Our prayers are with (his) family and friends. It has been an honor to serve with him in the city as a department leader and brother,” Speziale said in an email.
Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh said he promoted Aboyoun to assistant fire chief just last month.
“Today, it is with tremendous sadness that I say good-bye to a good friend,” the mayor said in a statement on Wednesday.
Aboyoun was hired as a Paterson firefighter in 1992 and rose through the ranks to become assistant fire chief and head of the city’s Office of Emergency Management. He responded to Ground Zero in Manhattan on Sept. 11, 2001 and was cited for bravery on several occasions, city officials said.
“His dedication and devotion to the department, city, community and the fire service was second to none,” Paterson Fire Chief Brian McDermott said in a statement. “Gabe was always there for his community and his firefighters when needed, and then some.”
Aboyoun is survived by his wife, Mayra, and three children, officials said. Funeral arrangements were pending Thursday morning.