BUFFALO, N.Y. — The City of Good Neighbors has come together to raise more than $349,000 for Jason Arno's wife, Sarah, and their 3-year-old daughter, Olivia, as of 2:30 p.m. Monday.
Jason Arno, 37, was a three-year member of the Buffalo Fire Department. Arno served with Engine 2, which is housed at the fire station at Virginia Street and Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo.
Arno died Wednesday while helping battle a 4-alarm fire that broke out at 745 Main St. in downtown Buffalo.
Buffalo Professional Firefighters Local 282 is collecting donations for the Arno Family. Checks can be made out to Buffalo Professional Firefighters and sent to or dropped off at 500 Southside Parkway, Buffalo NY, 14210. You can also call 716-856-4130 with any questions.
The 716 Foundation has put up billboards on the 190 and the 33 to help get the word out about how to donate.
"The 716 Foundation, as soon as we heard about the tragedy, stepped up to get the ball rolling with fundraising for the family. We started with a meeting with the union to see what way we could help the family. We started then with billboards. We're going to start a digital campaign tomorrow to help the family in its time of need," says Martin Szymanski, 716 Foundation Board Member, and NFTA Firefighter.
Hofbräuhaus Buffalo and Buffalo Professional Firefighters Union, Local 282 will hold a benefit for Arno's family on Thursday. The benefit will start at 4 p.m. and last until close. The restaurant will be 15% of sales to his family and the firefighter's wives will be selling shirts and raising money.
Firefighters from all over are expected as many will be in Buffalo for Arno's wake and funeral on Thursday and Friday.
The Buffalo Sabres also said they will donating their 50/50 from Monday night to Arno's family.
Mayor Byron Brown on Sunday said Buffalo is grateful to have outside agencies helping with the investigation of the deadly fire last week in the city.
A specialized unit of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives has been on the scene in downtown Buffalo, going through the debris. They are looking for an exact cause.
The area around the scene has been closed off to traffic since Wednesday's fire, and on Sunday, officials joined the mayor on his Talk of the Town radio show on WUFO radio, where the building's lack of stability was discussed.
"We spent a good portion (Saturday) with the Buffalo Fire Department making some areas safe, that we can actually enter without worrying about the collapse of the upper floor down upon workers," ATF branch chief Walter Shaw said.
"We got that taken care of and it took quite an amount of time to make the building safe for us to work in so today is our first day really getting in there. We're looking for any fire causation that could be electrical, accidental, or another ignition source, or the possibility of it being a set fire."
Shaw says they are still early in the investigation.