BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The first floor of a burning convenience store collapsed into the basement early Monday morning, killing two firefighters.
Flag-draped gurneys 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.
Authorities could not immediately confirm reports that a third
person - possibly a civilian the firefighters tried to rescue - was
missing in the basement, a police spokesman said.
The fire at the Super Speedy deli was reported just before 4
a.m. The deli is on the ground floor of a corner brick building in
a working-class neighborhood on the city's east side. Firefighters
were still pouring water on the gutted building hours after the
"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."
Mayor Byron Brown and Fire Commissioner Michael Lombardo were
expected to release more information at a midday news conference at
the Erie County Medical Center, where the bodies of the two
firefighters were taken. The firefighters' names were not
There was no immediate information on a possible cause of the
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.
Two Firefighters Killed In Store Collapse