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HomeLocal NewsQuick Thinking Junior Firefighter Josh Lefferts saves the day

Quick Thinking Junior Firefighter Josh Lefferts saves the day

PARSIPPANY — Friday, March 2 started out as a normal day for Josh Lefferts. After school he drove to the Rainbow Lakes Volunteer Fire Department, where he wants to become a full member after graduating high school in June.

But as Josh entered the parking lot, he noticed a tree had fallen across the train tracks adjacent to the fire station. Knowing that this train is mainly a commuter line he felt it was critical to stop the trains and remove the tree.

He immediately ran inside the firehouse and told Rainbow Lakes Fire Chief Doug Reighard. “They looked out the window of the firehouse but could not see the tree,” Josh said. Then he and Russ Greuter went outside and located the tree. “Russ said go get everyone else in the Firehouse and get a chain saw so we can clear the tree out the way,” Josh recalls.

At that time they called the New Jersey Transit Police to advise them of the situation and to shut down the railway. They also assigned “spotters” on each side of the tracks to see if there were any coming trains.

Because of Josh’s quick thinking and acting, they were able to cut the tree in pieces and remove it off the tracks before any trains travelled those tracks.

After they were all done clearing the tracks, New Jersey Transit Police arrived and about ten minutes later a commuter train passed through the area,  that once contained the fallen tree.

Mayor Michael Soriano said “It is a testament to the vigilance and volunteerism Parsippany’s bravest.”

The New Jersey Transit commuter train minutes after the tracks were cleared of the fallen tree

Had the junior firefighter not identified that hazard no one would know what could have happened, however ten minutes after they cleared the tree off the tracks a commuter train came through at normal speed. 

Parsippany-Troy Hills Police Lieutenant Keith Lefferts said “I’m very proud of Josh. I’m proud of what he did. He did the right thing, reporting what he saw. We don’t know what would have happened if the train hit the tree, but thanks to Josh, we won’t have to find out.” 

Josh Lefferts is a proud Junior Firefighter for the Rainbow Lakes Volunteer Fire Department
Some of the remains of the tree that was cut off and removed off the tracks
Josh in the area where the tree had fallen on the train tracks

Josh has been a junior firefighter for almost a year and he will turn 18 on September 6 and will then enroll in Firefighter School to become a volunteer Fireman for Rainbow Lakes Volunteer Fire Department. He currently is a senior at Morris Knolls High School.

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Frank L. Cahill
Frank L. Cahill
Publisher of Parsippany Focus since 1989 and Morris Focus since 2019, both covering a wide range of events. Mr. Cahill serves as the Executive Board Member of the Parsippany Area Chamber of Commerce, President of Kiwanis Club of Tri-Town and Chairman of Parsippany-Troy Hills Economic Development Advisory Board.
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