BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The widow of fallen firefighter Jason Arno has filed a notice of claim against both the City of Buffalo and the Buffalo Fire Department.
Sarah Elizabeth Tierney, who’s being represented by law firm Gibson, McAskill and Crosby, filed the claim for the following:
- conscious pain and suffering
- fear of impending death
- wrongful death
- loss of enjoyment of life
- past and future lost wages
- medical expenses
- funeral expenses
- lost pension benefits
- lost social security benefits
- loss of consortium
- loss of household services
- loss of parental care, nurturing and guidance
- attorneys’ fees
“It appears there were a lot of things that were done that could’ve been done better or certain procedures that should’ve been followed and they weren’t and that caused or contributed to this death,” Attorney Charles Desmond said.
The legal document claims the damages sustained were the result of “the negligence, recklessness and carelessness of the City of Buffalo and/or the City of Buffalo Fire Department” by allowing firefighters to enter the building “despite unreasonable dangerous conditions.”
Jason Arno was 37 years old when he died responding to the March 1 fire at 745 Main St.
The three-story structure, which was built roughly 120 years ago, was owned by former Congressman Chris Jacobs. Its ground floor had housed costume shop DC Theatricks before the fire.
In addition to his widow, Arno also left behind a 3-year-old daughter.
A monetary number to represent the damages suffered has not yet been determined, according to the notice of claim. Tierney intends to commence a civil lawsuit against the city and the fire department unless her demands are met, according to the document.
During a news conference on March second, Buffalo fire commissioner William Renaldo said the proper protocols were followed that day.
“The building was clear, which is the case many times, when we enter a structure like that. So it was safe to enter at the time and the chief made that determination,” Renaldo said. “I can not say there were any mistakes made at that fire.”
Vinny Ventresca also said something similar that day.
“I believe that the standard operating procedure for this type of fire was followed and the members did everything they were supposed to do,” Ventresca said during a news conference March 2nd.
Desmond disagrees and says the notice of claim is to ensure what happened to Arno does not happen to any other firefighter.
“If they [Arno’s family] can accomplish that, it’ll give them some piece of mind,” Desmond said.
News 4 reached out to the city for comment and was told the city does not comment on pending litigation.
The president of the Buffalo firefighters union says they have no comment at this time.
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.