Four firefighters injured battling two alarm blaze

Brutally cold firefighting conditions

@WGRZ Photo

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Buffalo, N.Y. (WBEN) - Buffalo Fire officials say four firefighters were treated for injuries after battling flames on Butler Avenue near Wohlers on the east side of Buffalo. 

In an update late Friday morning, Buffalo Fire Commissioner Bill Renaldo said a fire led to a "Mayday" call. Two of the four firefighters were treated and released from ECMC after suffering first-degree burns.

"The remaining two firefighters remain hospitalized," Renaldo said. "One with third-degree burns to the hands and wrists and one with first-degree burns to his hands, face, arms, chest, and back."

The firefighter with third degree burns suffered steam burns. Steam burns can permeate the firefighters coat and causes burns when the skin comes in contact with the coat or even when a firefighter sweats. He was on an attack line and went into a prone position after he couldn't find his way out of the attack.

"He tried to exercise shallow breathing to extend his air supply and stay there until help arrived," Renaldo said while noting it only took a couple minutes for the firefighter to be found.

The firefighter tried to make the "Mayday" call himself but wasn't able to find it. He took off his gloves to push the maydya button on his radio, which is how he suffered the burns."

Two of the firefighters suffered smoke inhalation.

"We were met with tremendous heat," said Fire Division Chief Paul Graham. "Obviously very hot conditions in the attic, since we suffered the burns we did". 

Graham said it's a stresssful situation when firefighters know one of their own is hurt.  "We rely on our training to keep everything calm and as orderly as we can, because if there's panic, no one is going to be assisted. We just keep calm and do what we have to do."

It's the third tragic fire in the city in as many weeks.

The cause remains under investigation and three occupants of the home were not injured.

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