Human remains found in ashes of Elmwood Avenue fire

May 9, 2019

Human remains have been found at the scene of a fire that tore through a building on Elmwood Avenue early Wednesday morning.

One person was unaccounted for following the three-alarm blaze, which led to the demolition of a three-story mixed-use building at 1074 Elmwood Avenue, between Forest and Bird avenues.

Credit Michael Mroziak/WBFO News

Buffalo Fire Commissioner William Renaldo said search operations resumed at 8 a.m. Thursday. In a late morning news briefing, Renaldo said crews focused on an area of the rubble identified by cadaver dogs brought in from the Erie County Sheriff's Office.       

"They did hit on a specific area last night. This morning we went to that same area and the dogs had that same activity. We concentrated on that area and that's how we discovered the suspected remains," Renaldo said.

Five people lived in the building. Three remain at ECMC after suffering burns and smoke inhalation. Two 60-year-old men have been upgraded from critical to fair and stable conditions. A 40-year-old man who was listed as stable on Wednesday is now said to be in good condition. A fifth resident was not home at the time.

Renaldo says 50-year-old man named Curtis Brown is unaccounted for, though it is not confirmed whether the remains found Thursday are his. Late Thursday afternoon, officials announced they have recovered 90% of the victim's remains.

The cause of the fire is yet to be determined. Renaldo said investigators are hoping to interview one of the residents who may have information into the cause of the blaze, but he remains intubated at ECMC.

Investigators will be at the scene into Friday. Elmwood Avenue remains closed Thursday afternoon between Forest and Bird.

WBFO's Michael Mroziak contributed to this report.