Buffalo Firefighters Battle 3+ Alarm Building Fire

Around 03:30, on Sunday, July 13th, 2003, as companies in South Buffalo were still overhauling at a 2nd Alarm fire, Buffalo Fire Dispatch sent a still alarm assignment to the area of Hertle Ave and Short St. for an auto near a building.

First to arrive TruckCo.12 reported an auto fire near a building at 373 Hertle Ave. but was unsure of extension.

Engine 26 arrived and requested an additional Engine and the Battalion.

As Truck 12 forced a garage door near the vehicle, the fire erupted inside.

The box was transmitted at 03:33 bringing a total of 3 Engines, 3 Trucks (the 3rd truck F. A. S. T.) the rescue and the Division.

Moments later, heavy fire broke through the roof of the occupied 1.5 story block warehouse that extended about 400' x 150' greeting incoming units with a glow in the sky.

Shortly after, an Additional Engine and Truck was requested followed by full a second alarm at 03:35 hours, which brought 3 more Engines and 2 Trucks.

Heavy fire conditions rapidly took over the building.

The siding on houses across the street began melting and lines had to be placed into operation to keep them from igniting.

A third alarm was transmitted at 03:44 bringing an additional 3 Engines and 2 Trucks and an additional Battalion Chief, followed by numerous special calls for additional Engines and Trucks.

Seven master streams including towers and ladderpipes were placed into operation, as well as numerous 2.5 "handlines.

Crews battled well into daylight to bring the blaze undercontrol, and remained on the scene wetting down hotspots until around 19:00 Sunday evening.

Damage is said to be $7.5 million.

At the height of the fire, another fire in a vacant 2 story frame garage, kept companies in Buffalo scrambling to cover the city.

At one point, only 6 engine companies were left in the city.

This fire was one of 4 fires this evening taxing the second platoon crews.ots.

The ATF was called in to assist the BFD Fire Marshall's who have been taxed lately by a rash of arson fires over the past 3 months.

The Salvation Army Canteen was on scene providing rehab for the battle weary crews, and the BFD Repair Shop was on scene to refill the fuel tanks of the apparatus.

An emergency demolition was ordered, and will be carried out after investigators complete thier work at the scene.