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Richard W Leonard


Firefighter Leonard was operating a pumper at a fire on State Street in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, on April 19, 1993. The fire involved a recycling facility with plastics. Firefighter Leonard did not have breathing air and worked in the highly toxic plastic burning smoke for hours. He never returned to duty and spent the 24 years prior to his death under workers' compensation care for continuous medical conditions caused from inhaling the smoke. Firefighter Leonard died on July 30, 2017 due to the effects of the smoke exposure.

Incident Location: 1037-1057 State ST, Perth Amboy, NJ (U.S. National Grid: 18T WK 6239 8717)

photo of the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial
Richard W Leonard was honored on the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial in Emmitsburg, Maryland and was included in the USFA’s annual report Firefighter Fatalities in the United States.

Department information

Perth Amboy Fire Department
375 New Brunswick Avenue
Perth Amboy, New Jersey 08861

Chief: Edward A. Mullen

Age: 70
Rank: Firefighter
Classification: Career
Incident date: April 19, 1993 12:20
Date of death: July 30, 2017
Cause of death: Exposure
Nature of death: Other
Activity type: Pump Operations
Emergency duty: Yes
Duty type: On-Scene Fire
Fixed property use: Industry

Last updated: July 30, 2020

Watch America’s Tribute to Fallen Firefighters

Honoring line-of-duty deaths in 2019