On February 9‚ 2009‚ Manuel Manny Rivera Sr. responded to a residential structure fire. The building was fully engulfed in fire‚ and Manny Rivera rescued a civilian who was dangling from a window. After descending the ladder‚ Manny collapsed. He was transported to the hospital‚ where he remained in a coma until his death on March 31‚ 2009.
He was born and raised in Trenton‚ where he often played basketball with his childhood friends. He graduated from Trenton Central High School and the Mercer County Fire Academy.
The first firefighter in his family‚ Manny Rivera was a 14-year veteran with the Trenton Fire Department and worked at Engine No. 3 at the time of his death. He was a skilled firefighter‚ respected and well-liked‚ and had many friends in the fire department.
He is survived by his beloved and devoted wife of 12 years‚ Dalixa (Montalvo) Rivera; his loving parents‚ Ernesto Enrique Rivera Sr. and Purificacion Rivera; his five caring children‚ Christopher A. Rivera‚ Manuel Rivera Jr.‚ Natasha I. Rivera‚ Steven A. Rivera‚ and Caitlin P. Rivera; a nephew that he helped raise‚ Onix Xavier Montalvo; three sisters‚ Joann (Benito) Bello‚ Pura Rivera‚ and Denise (Joel) Medrano; a brother‚ Ernesto Rivera Jr.; his grandmother‚ Maria Burgos; and many friends and extended family members in the United States and Puerto Rico.
Manny Rivera was proud of his family and his heritage. He was a Pittsburgh Steelers fan. He is remembered as generous and fun-loving‚ a great firefighter‚ and a family man. His brother-in-law‚ Trenton Police Sergeant Benito Bello‚ said‚ Manny was the kind of person who would help anybody without hesitation.