Four firefighters hurt in Butler Avenue blaze, two remain hospitalized

Jan 11, 2019

Four Buffalo Firefighters were hurt Thursday evening while battling a blaze the city’s east side.  WBFO's senior reporter Eileen two firefighters remain hospitalized Friday. 

“May Day, May Day, May Day. We’ve got a guy down in the attic,” declared a city firefighter.

An Erie County Fire Wire recording of the Buffalo Fire scanner ‘May Day’ call. It happened as fire crews were trying to put out flames in the attic of a two family home on Butler Avenue around 8:30 p.m.Thursday.

Buffalo Fire Commissioner Bill Renaldo holds a news briefing Friday at City Hall.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

One of the firefighters attempted to hit his ‘man down’ button, but was unsuccessful. At a news briefing at City Hall Friday morning, Buffalo Fire Commissioner Bill Renaldo said the firefighter became physically exhausted and the ‘May Day’ call went out.

“The May Day was sent out by members of the rescue company who discovered him,” Renaldo explained.

All four firefighters were taken to the Erie County Medical Center for treatment. Two with first degree burns were treated and released. But two other firefighters remain at ECMC.

The most seriously hurt firefighter with third degree burns to his hands and wrists. The other firefighter has first degree burns to face, arms, chest and back.

The fire commissioner said the ‘May Day’ call is always difficult for crews.

“We drill all the time on these situations – emergency situations and the crews were able to react very well and professionally and actually rescued our firefighter, get him out – and actually they saved his life,” Renaldo remarked.    

Three people safely escaped from the second floor of the home after they were alerted to the fire by a passerby.  

Fire Commissioner Renaldo said, as of right now, the cause of the blaze appears electrical, but an investigation continues.