Town mourns fireman

Photo courtesy of the Tortorello Family/ Tortorello in his firefighters uniform. Tortorello’s heart and passion was in the fire department.


By Anthony J. Machcinski

The Town of Kearny lost one of its fi nest members when Firefighter Michael Tortorello passed away Jan. 16 at the age of 40.

Tortorello, who lived in Kearny before moving to Lyndhurst 12 years ago, was with the Kearny Fire Dept. for 15 years before retiring last year due to illness. Well respected and loved by his peers, Tortorella was remembered as a hard worker.

“He was a hard working, dedicated, involved individual within the Fire Department whose heart and extra-curriculars (activities) were in the Fire Department,” said Capt. Daren Elliot. “I worked with him directly. He was always one of the first to grab a hose. He was a hard working and eager man.”

While Tortorello was a hard worker, his jovial attitude made working alongside him a fun time.

“He was a lot of fun around the firehouse,” Elliot explained. “He was an overall good guy.”

Fire Chief Steve Dyl recalled Tortorello’s fun-loving nature by telling a story about an annual fi shing trip Tortorello ran for the late Firefighter Kenny Kaufman.

“In 2009, my son won the pot for catching the biggest fish,” Dyl recalled. “Mike was so enthused that my son won it. He wanted to make a big deal of it and even got a trophy made. He kidded around a lot on who was going to get the money, me or my son. He made a point to give it to my son.”

Tortorello’s passion for children extended into his own life. He took great pride in his own kids, Michael, Alexa, and Gina.

“He talked about his kids a lot,” Elliot said. “He was so shocked when he found out he was having twins. He was talking about his kids and how much he loved being a father.”

Both on and off –duty firefighters were able to attend the funeral, which took place on Jan. 19. Dyl wanted to extend his thanks to the fi re departments from North Arlington, East Newark, Harrison and Jersey City for their overlap coverage which allowed the Kearny Fire Department to attend the ceremony. He also wanted to thank the Kearny Police Department for providing an honor guard, escort and the arrangements made throughout town.

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