Funeral held in Fair Lawn for FDNY firefighter who drowned saving daughter at Avon-by-the-Sea beach

Funeral services were held Friday afternoon for FDNY firefighter Mark Batista at Vander Plaat Colonial Home in Fair Lawn.

Ali Reid and Lanette Espy

Jun 16, 2023, 10:29 AM

Updated 345 days ago

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The 39-year-old FDNY firefighter who died last week while saving his daughter from a strong rip current in Avon-by-the-Sea was laid to rest.
Funeral services were held Friday for Mark Batista at Vander Plaat Colonial Home in Fair Lawn. Family, friends and dozens of FDNY firefighters attended.
Batista was remembered as a family man with a good heart and as a man of God. He was a well-respected member of the FDNY for over 15 years assigned to FDNY Engine Company 226. Colleagues said they always had someone to count on to get the job done if he was working that day.
Batista was pulled from the water on June 9 off the coast of Avon-by-the-Sea. He was enjoying a day at the beach with his daughter who decided to go for a swim. Batista quickly realized she got stuck in a strong rip current and jumped in to save her just after 8:30 a.m.
First responders were able to rescue his daughter in time, but Batista did not make it. His body wasn’t found until nearly 10 a.m. He was pronounced dead at the hospital despite lifesaving efforts.
He leaves behind his wife, a teenage daughter and two sons. A GoFundMe page started by Engine Company 226 has raised more than $75,000 to go toward the Batista family. The family will be presented with a gift from the fire department in honor of Batista's service.


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