BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — According to Vincent Ventresca, the president of the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 282 union, those fighting Wednesday morning’s fire in downtown Buffalo followed proper procedure and did what they were supposed to do.
Ventresca spoke Thursday afternoon on the death of 37-year-old firefighter Jason Arno.
“I believe that the standard operating procedure for this type of fire was followed, and that the members (of Buffalo Fire) did everything they were supposed to do, and that the command staff was on-scene rapidly and moving people around,” he said. “Sometimes bad things just happen and I’m not even certain that collapse was the cause here, so I can’t speak to it.”
He also said that there will be a full report following the investigation of the fire.
“Once the fire was tenable and they could get into the structure and it was safe to do so and collect the downed firefighter, he wasn’t buried to my knowledge.”
In Thursday’s City of Buffalo press conference, Fire Commissioner William Renaldo offered a similar sentiment regarding Buffalo Fire’s response.
“The building was clear, which is the case many times when we enter a structure like that. It was safe to enter at the time and the Chief made that determination,” he said. “I cannot say there were any mistakes made at that fire.”
Ventresca said a large warehouse is not their usual location for a fire — that they’re used to reporting to smaller fires at local residences.
He also spoke to how Arno’s death is affecting the department and how it is something not many people in the department have been through before.
“It’s obviously devastating to the members (of the Buffalo Fire Department) to lose one of their own in such a tragic way,” Ventresca said. “The 2009 class was just starting when Lt. Chip McCarthy and firefighter Jonathan Croom were lost, so we have had since that time, over 10 classes — a vast majority of the department has not suffered this type of tragedy.”
Ventresca said Arno was well-liked among the department and was “a great guy to be around.”
“It shows his dedication — and he wanted to be a part of, and be in, the action,” he said. “He was an excellent person.”
The union president also said donations for Arno’s family — his widow, whom he recently married, and his young daughter — will soon be accepted.
“Even people who have been on the department a long time aren’t always prepared for this immediate and sudden loss even though it is part of our job,” Ventresca said. “So we’re just trying to raise some funds for the family and doing what we can to support our member. There’s just been such an outpouring, so we just want to have a direct avenue for people to make donations.”
For information on how to donate to the Arno family, click here.
“We’re going to do everything we can to make sure his wife and his daughter are taken care of forever,” Ventresca said.
A replay of the conference can be viewed in full below.
Adam Duke is a digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2021. See more of his work here.