The flames and smoke spread into the street, causing bystanders to panic. Despite the best efforts of dozens of firefighters and law enforcement, one firefighter was missing from the blaze.
Hours later, the grim discovery was made that the missing firefighter had been found dead in the burning company building.
Video of the fireball and partial collapse that captured the firefighter’s death quickly circulated on social media and gained worldwide attention.
The identity of the fallen firefighter has not been released, but the Buffalo community deeply feels the loss. Fire Commissioner William Renaldo believes a backdraft likely started the fire, which occurs when oxygen is “drawn into the building and blown back.
“The situation quickly deteriorated and firefighters had to evacuate to escape the collapsing interior. Despite the heroic efforts of the firefighters, the blaze also destroyed another store in the area, including a costume store called “DC Theatricks.”
Chris Jacobs, a senator and congressman, owns the building where the fire occurred. He expressed his grief at the loss of the firefighter, stating: “I am so incredibly saddened by the loss of this amazing firefighter and my condolences to his family.”
Jacobs was more concerned about the fate of the missing Buffalo firefighter than about the severe damage to the building he acquired just before Christmas.
The Main Street building where the fire broke out was “highly unstable” throughout the day, hampering firefighter rescue efforts.
Mayor Byron Brown announced that an emergency demolition of what remains of the building has been ordered and could begin as early as Wednesday evening.
The Buffalo community is feeling the tragedy of the missing firefighter’s death and the city is asking for prayer during this difficult time.
The fallen firefighter’s sacrifice will never be forgotten, and his family and loved ones are in the thoughts and prayers of many.