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Funeral Services for Kinnelon Fire Lieutenant Justin Bower

This article is a direct street report from our correspondent and has not been edited by the 1st Responder newsroom.

Kinnelon Fire Lieutenant Justin Bower, 30, passed suddenly on November 18, 2023, after responding to a fire call with the department. The cause of his death is unknown, but is being considered a line of duty death due to his responses with the Kinnelon Fire Department prior to him passing. Lt. Bower was a 5-year member with the department, and also the owner and operator of the Taste of Reality Delicatessen in the borough. He is survived by his wife, Jennifer, brothers Matthew and Sean, and his sister, Sarah. 

Alex Merlucci, Kinnelon Fire Department vice president, spoke of Bower as someone who was generous, dedicated and very funny. He stated you could depend on Justin if you needed him. He also added he had a great personality and had a way of lighting the room with humor. Kinnelon Mayor Jim Freda said Bower was a dedicated volunteer who never missed a fire call. He was passionate about his job and committed to helping his community. 

On Monday, November 27, 2023, a funeral service and last call was held at the Morrison-Etheridge Funeral Home in Bulter. The Butler Fire Department provided their antique Ward LaFrance Pumper for Lt. Bower's final ride and last call. Many neighboring departments, family, and friends attended the services. The Kinnelon Police, Montville Police, Passaic and Morris County Sheriff officers led the motorcade with police motorcycles. At Kinnelon Company 1 firehouse on Kiel Ave., a last call was made while family, friends, town residents, and fellow firefighters from various communities paid tribute to Lt. Justin Bower.

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ADAM ALBERTISenior Correspondent

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