Buffalo Fire Department Reports 16 Confirmed COVID-19 Cases

Renaldo assures public "department is at 100% strength."

Brendan Keany
March 31, 2020 - 1:37 pm

Engine 22 Station on Broadway Street in Buffalo. September 11, 2019 (WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman)

BUFFALO (WBEN) - According to Buffalo Fire Commissioner William Renaldo, there are currently 16 confirmed cases of coronavirus within the department, with an additional 40 members on administrative leave to monitor symptoms.

"When our firefighters report to duty at 8 a.m....they're asked a series of questions, and we have a thermometer on hand to test for fever," said Renaldo. "In order for them to actually enter work and work for that 24-hour shift, they have to enter that gate."

Vinny Ventresca serves as president of the union, and he discussed some of the extra precautions being taken to keep members and the public safe.

"Normally, we have four members on the rig and all four members going on calls; now, we're doing two members, a lot of investigating from the doorway and just doing anything we can to protect ourselves from giving the exposure so that the members don't get sick, and in doing so, serving the public to the best of our ability," said Ventresca.

Listen to Ventresca's full comments below:

Despite some of the concerns of spread within the department, both Renaldo and Ventresca assured the public that there aren't any current concerns about staffing.

"The fire department is at 100% strength," said Renaldo. "We're responding to every call that we're dispatched to - the public should be aware of that. They should know that they can call 9-1-1 at any time and we'll be there. We have a great plan in place, and we update it every time there's any updates...giving us medical updates, changing our protocol as required, but as I said at the beginning, we have a plan, we're executing the plan, and we're confident the plan is working."

Listen to Renaldo's full press conference below:

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