BUFFALO, N.Y. — Firefighters, family and friends on Thursday began to say their final goodbyes to fallen Buffalo firefighter Jason Arno at Amigone Funeral Home on Delaware Avenue.
A firefighter. A father. A friend.
Jason Arno made the ultimate sacrifice for his city.
Public officials, police and firefighters from Buffalo and beyond came together to honor a man still in the prime of his life gone too soon.
“This is difficult, but it is a close-knit family,” said Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown. “They are a close-knit family, and they are supporting each and leaning on each other during this difficult time.”
The fire service is like a second family for many. Arno’s brothers and sisters in the department are still dealing with their own grief at the loss of a fellow firefighter.
“All of our firefighters lean on each in situations like this,” said Commissioner William Renaldo, Buffalo Fire Department. “The last time we had a situation like this was back in 2009. It all comes back, all of the feelings come flooding back. The department as a whole has come together. We’ve learned to lean on each other during times like this.”
They have support from departments around the state and the country — many who have come to Buffalo to recognize one of their own — no matter where they call home.
“It’s comforting,” said Deputy Commissioner Paul Eason, Buffalo Fire Department. “It’s comforting for us to know that we have the support of our fellow firefighters nationwide. I’ve gotten calls from members either offering their condolences or even saying that they would actually be here to support us.”
It’s a trying time for so many. Like firefighters, the city’s police put their life on the line every day and showed up with a shoulder to lean on.
“First and foremost, we are one family,” said Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia, Buffalo Police Department. “We’re a city family. Police and Fire have a tremendous bond. We rely on one another. Our officers have been in situations, car accidents, injured and who’s the first to respond? The fire department.”
Therapy dogs helped people face painful emotions Thursday, as they came together for a fallen hero.
“This is part of the healing process, not just for the department but mostly for the family," said Renaldo. "Once again, we’re focused on the family and doing everything to support them.”