BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — City officials remembered 37-year-old Jason Arno, the Buffalo firefighter killed battling Wednesday’s Main Street fire, as a hero and bright young man during a Thursday afternoon press conference
“I want him to be remembered for what he was, he was a hero,” Buffalo Fire Commissioner William Renaldo said. “He was a brave, committed firefighter. He went into this job with his eyes wide open to serve the citizens of Buffalo. He’s to be commended for that and he’s going to be honored for that.”
The investigation as to how Arno was killed and the cause of the fire are still under investigation, however, Renaldo said the 37-year-old was inside the building when it partially collapsed due to what he believes was a backdraft.
Arno was just married to his wife last summer and has a 3-year-old daughter, according to Renaldo. He was a member of Engine 2 and the Buffalo Fire Department for three years.
“Just a bright young man with everything in front of him,” Renaldo said. “An exemplary firefighter and employee. Just a great all-around person, no one ever had anything negative to say about firefighter Arno.”
Renaldo said that firefighters at Engine 2 are currently out of service following Wednesday’s tragic loss and that they will be given as much time as they need. Renaldo and Mayor Byron Brown met with Arno’s family, who they described as warm and welcoming despite the tragedy they had endured.
The International Association of Fire Fighters Local 282 union also held a press conference Thursday, and they remembered Arno similarly.
Vincent Ventresca, President of the union, said Arno was well-liked in the department and was “a great guy to be around.” He added that no one will forget Arno.
“It shows his dedication — and he wanted to be a part of, and be in, the action,” Ventresca said. “He was an excellent person.”
Funeral services for Arno are expected to occur sometime next week according to Renaldo, and donations and support have poured out from around Western New York. Virtual donations were still being organized by Buffalo Professional Firefighters Local 282.
Donations to the Arno family can be sent to the Fire Department’s Venmo account, @IAFF282. Additionally, checks can be made payable to Buffalo Professional Firefighters, and they can be mailed to or dropped off at 500 Southside Pkwy, Buffalo, NY, 14210.
“Right now we’re focused on the families and making sure all their needs are met,” Renaldo said. “We’re wrapping our arms around them the way the Buffalo Fire Department does and we’re used to doing. We’re going to make sure they’re taken care of going forward.”
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Adam Gorski is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team in 2022. You can find more of his work here.