“Give Me the Balance”: Buffalo firefighter sharing generations of fire memories

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – The Buffalo Fire Department has a long, rich history, and soon, you’ll have the chance to have some of it on display on your coffee table.

David Kazmierczak’s new book “Give Me the Balance” just went for its final proof and should be released in the next six to eight weeks.

Kazmierczak has been compiling material for the 300 page book for decades.

This October will mark his 33rd year as a Buffalo firefighter.

“It’s a great feeling when you can help someone in their moment of need. That’s what we’re there for,” said Kazmierczak, who is currently assigned to Rescue 1. “We’re there for the citizens of Buffalo, and we take pride in what we do.”

Kazmierczak also takes a lot of pride in the Buffalo Fire Historical Society’s museum which he helped found at the corner of William and Ogden.

The collection preserves generations of fire memories, from the earliest pumpers used in the city to the evolution of the fire ax, and even some personal items on display.

Kazmierczak says his love for the fire department and its history started at a young age, and he owes a lot of it to his father, Frank, a Korean War veteran and a photography enthusiast.

“He was shooting color like in the early ’50s when nobody did, and the general alarm fire in the Larkin Building in 1954, he has a whole series that he took,” Kazmierczak said.

The Larkin Building fire photos are now included in “Give Me the Balance” along with photos from many other points in the fire department’s history.

The book captures the high moments, like the firefighters coming together in the City of Good Neighbors to help in the wake of Snowvember, to some of the darkest moments in the city’s history, including several fires where not all of the firefighters came home.

“The propane explosion in 1983. That was actually my first fire,” Kazmierczak recalled.

Over the years, Kazmierczak has seen it all, and done it all to get the best shots.

His father used to take him to fire scenes with a disposable camera when he was young. “A couple times he wasn’t home, he had to work, so I had to take a bus,” Kazmierczak said.

Now, his photos are helping him share his passion for the fire department, just as he does with the history museum.

And Kazmierczak says “Give Me the Balance” really is just the start.

“I probably have another 10,000 photos. This could have been a thousand page book, but we had to draw the line somewhere. We’ll go with Volume 2, 3, and 4 with the rest,” he laughed.

To order a copy of “Give Me the Balance” online, click here. You can also call M.T. Publishing at 1-888-263-4702 to order a copy by phone.

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