Buff State Identifies Professor As Delaware Ave. Fire Victim

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BUFFALO, NY – The State University College at Buffalo has identified the victim of a fatal fire on Delaware Avenue Wednesday night as one of its professors.

In a press release, the school stated:

-The Buffalo State community is deeply saddened by the death of Felix L. Armfield, professor of history and social studies education, who died unexpectedly on April 30 at his home in Buffalo.

Dr. Armfield joined the Buffalo State community as an assistant professor of history and social studies education in 2000. He was promoted to associate professor in 2002 and professor in 2008. He also served as associate director of the Monroe Fordham Regional History Center, and he was a member of the African and African American Interdisciplinary Studies Unit and the graduate faculty. Before coming to Buffalo State, Dr. Armfield served as assistant professor at Western Illinois University.

A native of North Carolina, Dr. Armfield earned a B.A. in history with a minor in education from North Carolina Central University, and an M.A. in American history from the same university, before earning his Ph.D. from Michigan State University.

Armfield, 51, was removed from his unit on the fourth floor of The Commodore Apartment building by Buffalo Firefighters, who tried in vain to rescucitate him.

Armfield died later at a hospital.

Fire officials say the blaze began in Armfield's apartment but had not identified a cause for the fire by Thursday evening.

Fire Commissioner Garnell Whitfield said extinguishing the fire quickly was challenging, because firefighters had to drag hoses through the building in order to reach the flames on the upper floors.

Whitfield explained further that the Commodore lacks standpipes, which feed sprinkler systems and can serve more or less as an indoor fire hydrant for fire fighters.

Any apartment building constructed today would be required to have stand pipes, and sprinklers, but because this one was built before modern day fire codes, it isn't required "Not unless you're doing a certain percentage of renovations in the building, then we can bring in to bear the newer codes. But if that is not the case the building is then grandfathered in its current condition," said Whitfield. "The building is well maintained, it's in good shape, it is up to code so we don't really have any issues per say with that building. This is like many older buildings in the city, which do not have standpipes."

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