BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Buffalo Fire Chaplain Paul Seil was there when the family of a 37-year-old firefighter was informed of his passing.

Seil went to Washington Street behind the building as it burned on Main Street.

“I was told that we have one firefighter who was unaccounted for, and that just sends a chill right through you,” he told us.

Over five years, Seil says he’s only heard three “mayday” calls — a sign that something very bad has happened.

“You can’t give words of like ‘Oh, everything’s gonna be fine, because it’s not gonna be fine. In all of these situations, what people want is their loved one to be with them, and we can’t provide that. All we can provide is a sense of hope, or that we love them, or that we care about them, or that we care about their children or their relationships. That’s the best you can do.”

This type of situation may reopen wounds for people who have faced similar tragedies. Hear what Seil shared with us Thursday morning during his appearance on Wake Up:

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Evan Anstey is an Associated Press Award, JANY Award and Emmy-nominated digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2015. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.

Patrick Ryan is an award-winning reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2020. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.