SPECIAL REPORT: A popular retired North Arlington fire chief remained in critical condition following a violent crash in Lyndhurst on Saturday, CLIFFVIEW PILOT has learned.
Robert “Bob” Melofchik was in a North Arlington Fire Department SUV when it was broadsided on the passenger side at the corner of Lake and Dellafield, Lyndhurst Police Chief James O’Connor confirmed tonight.
Melofchik, who is also a fire instructor, was serving as acting North Arlington fire chief, covering the borough while department officials attended the New Jersey Firemen’s Convention Friday and Saturday in Wildwood.
His vehicle was struck, spun, overturned and hit two parked cars after the other driver apparently ran a stop sign, O’Connor said.
The SUV landed on its passenger side, requiring that Lyndhurst firefighters extricate him, the chief said. The Lyndhurst Police Emergency Squad then rushed Melofchik to UMDNJ in Newark, he said.
Although O’Connor didn’t know the extent of the career firefighter’s injuries, various sources confirmed that he sustained multiple broken ribs and a broken collarbone, while suffering internal bleeding and possible other internal injuries that required emergency surgery.
“He has a long road to recovery ahead of him,” a family friend said. “I ask that everyone please say a prayer for the Melofchik family during this time of healing.”
“A lot of people all watching and waiting,” another told CLIFFVIEW PILOT . “His family is by his side — but so are we in our hearts.”
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