Pair of Buffalo, New York Firefighters Killed in Collapse at 3-Alarm Fire

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Buffalo 3 Alarm LODD Fire Dispatch/Ops

Funeral Arrangements
Lt. Charles McCarthy
St. Joseph Cathedral - Franklin St.
Friday - August 28 - 9:30 a.m.
Viewing: Thursday, August 27th, 2:00pm – 8:00pm
James Cannan Funeral Home
3155 Orchard Park Road
Orchard Park, NY 14127

Firefighter Jonathan Croom
St. Joseph Cathedral - Franklin St.
Friday - August 28 - 1:00 p.m.
Viewing: Thursday, August 27th, 2:00pm -8:00 pm
Amigone Funeral Home
1132 Delaware Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14209

Lt. Charles "Chip" McCarthy & Firefighter Jonathan Croom

Firefighters Remove Fallen Bravest

Raw Video from the Scene

Buffalo firefighters salute as they remove bodies of fellow firefighters from a building after a fire in Buffalo, N.Y., Monday, Aug. 24, 2009. The first floor of a burning convenience store collapsed into the basement early Monday morning, killing two firefighters. (AP Photo/ David Duprey)

Fire Commissioner Mike Lombardo: Firefighters Missing
Associated Press Writer

Two firefighters -- one searching for a person reported to be trapped and the other responding to a mayday call -- plunged through the collapsed first floor of a burning building and died early Monday.

Rescue crews tried repeatedly to get to the two fallen firefighters, but were beaten back by fire and further collapses inside the corner brick building, Commissioner Michael Lombardo said.

The first firefighter to fall through the floor, Lt. Charles "Chip" McCarthy, was a 22-year veteran of the Buffalo Fire Department who was assigned to a team whose members are trained to find and free trapped victims.

He had depleted one oxygen tank, came out to replace it and then re-entered the building just before the accident happened, said firefighter Vincent Gugliuzza, vice president of Local 282, Buffalo Professional Firefighters Association.

He pressed a distress button on his radio and radioed for help, saying, "Basement, I'm in the basement," said Daniel Cunningham, president of the firefighters union.

Firefighter Jonathan Croom, who was working on his scheduled day off, responded to McCarthy's mayday call and also fell through the collapsed floor, Cunningham said.

Firefighters continued to search the building Monday afternoon but had not yet determined whether anyone else was still inside, officials said.

The fire at the Super Speedy deli in a working-class neighborhood on the city's east side was reported just before 4 a.m. Flag-draped stretchers carrying the bodies were brought out of the two-story building shortly before 10 a.m. as fellow firefighters, some saluting, lined up and took off their helmets. Weeping and distraught people believed to be relatives had been escorted from the scene moments earlier.

Firefighters were still pouring water on the gutted building hours after the blaze began. The fire's cause was under investigation.

McCarthy was a 45-year-old married father of three. Croom, 34, had been in the department for 10 years and leaves behind a fiance and the couple's 9-month-old child. He was working on overtime on his day off to cover a staffing shortage, Cunningham said.

The two were among the first firefighters on the scene, Lombardo said.

"The hearts of the Buffalo Fire Department are broken," said Lombardo, who knew both of the victims. "This is a family and we lost two members of our family today."

The last Buffalo firefighter killed in the line of duty was 31-year-old Michael Seguin, who died July 4, 1997, when a roof collapsed during a house fire.

The last time more than one Buffalo firefighter died in the line of duty was on Dec. 27, 1983, when five firefighters were killed in a propane tank explosion at a warehouse _ the worst loss of life in the department's 129-year history.

"I've been on 36 years and seen every situation happen. We still do what we have to do," said Fire Chief John McFeely. "It's always very, very tragic. The guys are so close together, but we've got a job to do. In another half an hour, if there's another fire down the street, we'll be there."


Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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i'm very sad to hear that we lost two more of your bothers in the line of duty. i hope all the firefighters at the scene can recover from this. my pray's go's out to all the familys of these two firefighters.
our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and the buffalo fire dept
my heart goes out to the families,and co workers that lost there brothers.may god look upon there families and friends.we as firefighter know that there could be a time we will lose are lifes and they loved doing what they were trained to do.thank you for your dedication and your loyalty my brothers.
Brothers you are no longer to report to the scene nor station but to the arms of the lord.RIP
We are so sorry for your tragic loss. Please accept our heartfelt thoughts and prayers for the fallen firefighters, their families and the members of the Buffalo Fire Dept.
From the Officers and members of the Union Bridge Fire Company, Maryland.
thought and prayers go out to everyone involved
God Bless These Heroes!!!
So sad! Our gratitude to their loved ones!
Thoughts and prayers go out to the brothers and there families.
My thoughts and prayers are with the Buffalo Fire Department and the families affected. Also the whole community involved in the incidnt. They will forever be remembered as heroes in there community.

SSG Anthony Bernal
As a child, I grew up just south of Buffalo and I remember the night, December 27, 1983 when the propane blast happened and North Divison and Grovner. It shook my house 17 miles away. I saved every article about it. I grew up across the street from my Volunteer department and couldn't wait till I turned 18 to join. Now 1300 miles to the south in SW Florida, it still hits hard home even though your away from the "city of good neighbors". On behalf of all the members and officers of ther Bayshore Fire and Rescue Service District, we send our best wishes to the families and the Buffalo Fire Department. We will never forget.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of these brothers and the fire department.

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