WAYMART — With heavy hearts, firefighters in Wayne County will be putting up black bunting in memory of one of its fallen brothers.
Captain Gregory Barnas was a full-time firefighter in New Jersey, but he also spent time in Wayne County.
Friends said Barnas had a cottage near Elk Lake, and while vacationing he spent time volunteering at Waymart Fire Company, Browndale Fire Company and Whites Crossing Fire and Rescue.
Investigators said on Friday morning Barnas died after falling from a roof while working to put out a fire at a Japanese restaurant in Wallington, New Jersey.
In the small community of Waymart, firefighters are shocked to hear the death of the 57 year old.
“Big shock. It’s a wake up in reality that hit close to home. Really close to home. We talk about it all the time that it could happen, and here it’s happened,” Jordan Thompson of Waymart Volunteer Fire Company said.
Barnas is a familiar face to many firefighters.
He’s been fighting fires for more than 40 years, and for more than 20 of them, he’s volunteered at station 75 in Waymart.
“He was always watching out for everyone else so that bad things or accidents didn’t happen to them. To hear something like this, it’s just tragic. I’m at a loss for words,” fellow firefighter Tim MacDonald of the Waymart Volunteer Fire Company said.
From making the cover of magazines to having special memento’s made, members at Station 75 said he’ll be missed.
“He’s just an all around good guy looking to lend a hand. You know whenever he could, he would,” said Chief Tom Derrick of Waymart Volunteer Fire Company.
Members of the Browndale Fire Company in Wayne County said when it came to Barnas, big city or small it didn’t matter where he was, he was always willing to help fellow firefighters.
Chief Jason Obelenus told Newswatch 16 Barnas spent many years at the fire hall as an instructor.
Obelenus said he taught members about ladder truck operations and large area searches.
He also helped secure new equipment and gear for the fire company.
“This firefighter got paid to do a job he loved to do, and he never looked down at smaller organizations. He actually lifted smaller organizations up in order to help them out,” Chief Jason Obelenus of the Browndale Fire Company said.
Fellow volunteers said this tragic event is a reminder that in this line of duty anything can happen.
“Don’t take a routine call for granted, because you never know what is going to happen,” MacDonald said.
Funeral arraignments for Barnas have not been made yet.
Firefighters from Wayne County said they plan on attending.