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Buffalo firefighter dies in Main Street fire downtown

The fallen firefighter has been identified as Jason Arno, 37, who was a three-year member of the Buffalo Fire Department.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — On Thursday, the name of a firefighter that died in a 4-alarm fire on Wednesday was released. 

Jason Arno, 37, was a three-year member of the Buffalo Fire Department.

The Buffalo Fire Department said the fallen firefighter was pronounced deceased at the scene of the fire. Mayor Brown said during a 4 p.m. news conference on Wednesday that the firefighter's name would not be released at this time, with family notifications still pending.

Mayor Brown added that an emergency demolition order would be issued for building 745 Main St., citing its unstable condition.

The mayor said in a tweet on social media: "I am deeply saddened to report that a member of the Buffalo Fire Department has lost his life while bravely fighting the four-alarm fire on Main Street in Downtown Buffalo today. I ask everyone to keep the family and fellow firefighters in your prayers."

Added Buffalo Fire Commissioner William Renaldo: “The hardest thing, actually, was keeping our firefighters from entering the building to rescue our fallen firefighter in the building. That was the most difficult part of it.”

The firefighter was from Engine 2. The fire department lost contact with the firefighter shortly after a "mayday" call came through the radio. 

The mayday call was issued while crews were working on extinguishing the fire in the building and was related to the unaccounted-for firefighter.

It will be some time before firefighters are able to get into the building because of significant fire damage, Renaldo said.

An emergency demolition has been ordered and began before 5 p.m. 

“We are asking residents of Buffalo and Western New York to pray for the firefighter that is unaccounted for,” Mayor Byron Brown said.

Firefighters were called to DC Theatricks on Main Street just before 10 a.m.

Smoke and flames could be seen for several miles. 

Renaldo said the fire investigation team is working to interview workers who were reported to be using a torch in the area where they believe the fire started. A cause will not be officially determined until those workers can be interviewed. Officials believe that a fire was smoldering a while before the fire really erupted and officials were called.

"I was one of the first people out here and for a few seconds it was just smoke," Jason Colston told 2 On Your Side at the scene. "Then there was a burst of flames and you could hear the floor fall and the firefighters started yelling about how the floor it fell."  

Buffalo Fire Department- Helmets & Hose Wagons shared a dramatic video of the fire.

Posted by Buffalo Fire Department-Helmets & Hose Wagons on Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Streets in the area are closed, including Main Street between Virginia and Chippewa streets, Washington Street between Virginia and Chippewa streets, Tupper Street between Pearl and Ellicott streets, and Pearl Street between Main and Tupper streets.  

Drone footage of the fire was shared with 2 On Your Side. You can see smoke billowing from the structure.

2 On Your Side has a crew on the scene and will have more information as it becomes available. 

Here is a look at the scene from our Tower Cam:

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