Remembering the fallen heroes of the North Division Street propane explosion

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Close to 100 people gathered Wednesday night to remember the 40th anniversary of the North Division Street propane explosion. Family members, loved ones, friends, and Buffalo Firefighters, both active and retired, gathered to honor the lives of the heroes lost on the line of duty.

“It’s the most significant loss of life in the Buffalo Fire Department, there wasn’t an incident like that before or since,” said Fire Commissioner William Renaldo. “Eleven firefighters were seriously injured over 100 civilians were injured, two civilians were killed that night so once again, one of the most traumatic incidents in the Buffalo Fire Department.”

That day is one that those in attendance Wednesday, said has and always will be memorialized by the Buffalo Fire Department and etched into the Buffalo community’s memory forever.

“Sometimes you can’t say anything,” said Paul Seil, BFD Chaplin. “You have to be present and that’s what we’re doing tonight always remembering the sadness of the past, but also recognizing that we live for today.“

After 40 years the sadness of loss lingers for many individuals who had a connection, not only to the men of ladder five but also the two civilians that died. Wednesday’s event served as a reminder that you’re never alone.

“This is living proof everybody’s getting together for this occasion, it is a sad occasion, but we do have support,“ said Andre Arnold.

Despite the rain, the ceremony was filled with memories, stories and prayer, along with a dedication of a new ladder truck 5, etched with the names of the fallen firefighters reminding current fire fighters of sacrifices made by past ones.

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Dillon Morello is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has been part of the News 4 team since September of 2023. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.

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