BUFFALO, N.Y. — Jason Arno came to work at Engine 2 on Elmwood and Virginia on March 1st, responded to a four-alarm fire on Main Street, and never made it back.
Friday morning, his brothers and sisters in uniform as well as bystanders from the neighborhood were able to say their final goodbyes.
With the fallen firefighter's gear draped on the front of a Buffalo Fire truck, members of Engine 2, along with other departments and law enforcement agencies gathered outside the firehouse for the the funeral procession to pass by on its way from Amigone Funeral Home to St. Joseph Cathedral.
"It's obviously very emotional," Commissioner Joe Lewis of the Cleveland Hill Fire District said. "You can just see the pain on the firefighters who do know him and what they're going through. You just have to be there to let them know that they can lean on you if they need you."
Commissioner Joe Lewis was one of the first people to arrive for the procession, around 7 a.m.
"We have a mutual friend with one of the gentlemen that's very close to him and again it's just, it's a brotherhood," he said. "So whether you know them or not, they're your brothers you gotta be here to support them."
John Boivin waved a flag on behalf of Hogs and Heroes, an organization that works with fallen heroes. This was hardly the first funeral for a first responder he'd witnessed.
"It's part of what we do, just trying to show support for the firemen, their families, their extended families," he said. "We're just here to support them."
Jason Arno will only ever return to Engine 2 in spirit, but his service and his sacrifice will never be forgotten.
"If nothing else, when you see a fireman or policeman on the street, politely and carefully, just because, say thank you," Boivin said. "Just tell them thanks. Thanks for what you do."