People in the Town of Gates are mourning the sudden death of firefighter Joe Manuse.
The Gates Fire District's public information officer died Sunday after being stung by a bee. He was off-duty, visiting family at the time.
Relatives immediately started life-saving measures until Gates fire and EMT crews arrived. Manuse was taken to a nearby hospital, where he ultimately died of injuries.
“It’s very tragic, I mean the town right now is still in disbelief and heartbroken," Gates Town Supervisor Cosco Gianta said. "I mean, Joe was a tremendous guy. I happen to know Joe from high school, he’s a fellow Gates-Chili Spartan.”
Ken Hammel, principal of Gates Chili High School, said Manuse built very strong relationships and cared about the safety and well-being of students.
The fireman was working on a simulation for students this fall to teach them about the ongoing opioid crisis. Hammel said Manuse worked with kids from elementary school through the high school.
School staff members dressed in red Tuesday to pay tribute to “Fireman Joe” at the school’s orientation.
Flags were also flown at half-staff in honor of the fireman.
The International Association of Firefighters Local 3792 said Manuse started at Gates-Chili Fire Department nearly 30 years ago, eventually moving up through the ranks to assistant chief. He went to the Gates Fire District in 2008 as fire prevention officer.
He was also a building safety inspector.
"Joe was an amazing leader, teacher, firefighter and father. Please keep the Manuse family and Gates Fire District in your thoughts and prayers," Captain Brian Gebo said in a statement.
The Town of Gates will honor Manuse on September 19 at 9:30 a.m. at the Town Hall Front Lawn for the First Responder’s Day Commemoration.
“We’re going to be bringing in another statue of a firemen," Giunta continued. "We’re going to dedicate that to Firemen Joe in his honor, so there will be a great tribute to him and he will always be remembered here in our Gates community never, he will never be forgotten here.”
Calling hours have been set for Monday, September 9 from 3-8 p.m. at the DiPonzio Funeral Home. It's located at 219 Spencerport Road in Gates. A funeral mass will take place Tuesday, September 10 at 9:30 a.m. at St. Jude Church at 4100 Lyell Road. In lieu of flowers, the family asks people to consider a memorial donation to Gates Fire District.