According to officials, a fire inside a Buffalo costume store erupted on Wednesday, trapping a young firefighter inside and killing him.
The firefighter, whose name hasn’t been released yet, was about 30 feet inside the burning DC Theatricks shop at 10 a.m. on 1 March 2023 when a backdraft caused a part of the building to fall and pin him to the ground.
Other smoke-eaters had to leave their fallen friend behind when an evacuation was called just before the intense backdraft blew through the building. A backdraft is a sudden burst of oxygen sucked into a smoldering fire and then shot back out.
“Unfortunately, they weren’t able to retrieve him at the time,” Renaldo said, adding that the exact cause of death is unknown at this time.
Video shows that the fireball broke through the storefront, which was falling apart quickly, and across the sidewalk just as firefighters were getting out of the way. Several of them fell to the ground after the blast.
The bright orange flames broke glass and sent debris flying into the street. One large piece hit a firefighter hard enough to knock them over.
It took hours for the fire department to get to where the fireman died and pull his body out of the dangerous building. After finding him, firefighters paid him a small tribute and saluted him as his body was taken away in an ambulance.
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There were no other major injuries reported.
Officials said that it was likely contractors working outside the brick-and-mortar building with torches that started the fire.
Investigators think the fire started when the flames from the torch got out of the motor through holes and set fire to a large pile of paper and other fuel on the other side of the wall inside the building.
Renaldo said the fire might have been small before quickly growing into the deadly four-alarm blaze.
The building was left in such bad shape that city officials plan to tear it down as soon as possible. In honor of the dead smoke-eater, Mayor Byron Brown has told everyone in the city to lower their flags to half-staff.
The firefighter’s identity is being withheld as family is notified, but the department’s chaplain described him as a “young man” with a wife and child.
“He joins a long line of firefighters who also paid the ultimate sacrifice over the years in service to the community,” Renaldo said.
#BREAKING: Multiple firefighters are battling a Massive commercial fire, with reports of one firefighter unaccounted for. RAWSALERTS Share a Tweet Regarding this incident.
🚨#BREAKING: Multiple firefighters are battling Massive commercial fire with reports of one firefighter unaccounted for
📌#Buffalo | #NewYork⁰
Currently, dozens of firefighters are battling a massive four-alarm commercial fire in downtown Buffalo were heavy thick smoke is… https://t.co/AnzCRvfRUm pic.twitter.com/ZMtqropFaJ
— R A W S A L E R T S (@rawsalerts) March 1, 2023
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