Local/State

2 NJ firefighters killed in motor bike accident (PHOTOS)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Two firefighters were killed in a collision involving several motorized sports bikes in Woodland Township, New Jersey.

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Now a South Jersey fire house is dealing with the sudden loss of two of thier own - 31 year old Lieutenant Joe Randazzo and 22 year old volunteer firefighter Erin Phillips.

New Jersey State Police say it was around 2:00 p.m. Saturday afternoon when the two firefighters were riding on 2009 Yamaha sport bike on Route 72 near Buzzard Hill Road in Woodland.

Investigators say Randazzo, who was driving at a high rate of speed, lost control and clipped another motorcycle.

That cyclist wasn't injured, but Randazzo and Phillips were thrown from their motorcycle and killed.

Their fellow firefighters from the station almost responded to the scene of the crash but were turned around and told they weren't needed.

Moments later, their chief got a call.

Outside Pemberton Township's Browns Mills volunteer fire company, the flag is at half staff for Lieutenant Randazzo and Phillips.

"As they say when it rains, it pours, and it's pouring on us right now," said Chief Craig Augustoni.

Fire Chief Craig Augustoni says he and several others at the fire station had just been with the two at a fire prevention expo.

"We were all together, talking, joking and having a good time serving the public and then this happened," said Chief Augustoni.

When tragedy strikes a fire department, we often talk about how it comes together like a family.

At the station, they really are family. Phillips' parents are also volunteers, and her boyfriend is a lieutenant there.

The couple had a baby boy less than a year ago.

"If I had to go to a fire with somebody, Joe Randazzo is one of the guys I would pick, and Erin was just one of the nicest girls you would meet," said Deputy Chief Dave Force. "She was everybody's big sister, little sister, and daughter around here."

And as the community begins to grieve the loss of the two young public servants, the chief says they will be honored.

"We told everyone this is one big family and we will get through this together," Chief Augustoni said.

Funeral arrangements will be announced in the coming days.

The accident remains under investigation.

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Tags:
accident, motorcycles, new jersey, local/state, kenneth moton
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