BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Thousands of first responders from all over are expected to pay their respects to fallen firefighter Jason Arno. Hofbräuhaus Buffalo is hosting a fundraiser for Arno’s family Thursday night until 10 p.m.
First responders from near and far have been invited to the bar to pay their respects. One fire chief spoke with News 4 about his department’s plans to travel to Buffalo for Arno’s funeral tomorrow.
Joe Walko, fire chief for the Erie, Pa. Fire Department in attendance said it’s important for his crew to show their support for Arno’s family, the Buffalo Fire Department, and the Buffalo community.
“It’s a hard thing to do for anybody to go to a funeral, especially when you lose someone in the line of duty,” Chief Walko said. “The respect that we have for each and everyone of us. Is hard. It’s hard for us all.
Walko said members of the Erie Fire Department will hit the road around 6 a.m. Friday and that eight to 10 Erie firefighters will be standing outside St. Joseph Cathedral during the funeral service. They expect to arrive around 8 a.m.
“The respect that we have for each and everyone of us is hard. It’s hard for us all,” he said. “I know up in Buffalo, just like any other fire department within the country, you get them the best equipment, you get them the best gear, you train them, and sometimes it just isn’t enough.”
Walko said he knows tomorrow won’t be an easy day for Jason Arno’s family or the Buffalo Fire Department, and they want to be there to support.
“In the fire service, it’s like a second family,” Walko said. “When we lose one, wherever they’re at, it’s like losing a part of your family, obviously. We’re there just to show our support and to share the grief and the pain that they’re going through, because that’s hard to lose one of their own.”
Sarah Minkewicz is an Emmy-nominated reporter and Buffalo native who has been a part of the News 4 team since 2019. Follow Sarah on Twitter @SarahMinkewicz and click here to see more of her work.