4 Buffalo Firemen Rescued from Roof
—Leo E. Duliba photos
Four was a significant number to Buffalo, N.Y., fire fighters trapped on the roof of a building filled with boxes of toys.
Four men from Truck 1 were rescued from the roof of the fourstory brick building of the Wagner Toy Company, a distributor, at 96 Clinton Street in Buffalo during a four-alarm fire February 7, 1970. The men, Lieutenant Henry Harlos and Fire Fighters William Duggan, William Dunn and William McNamara, were working on the roof when flames erupted from every floor and broke through the roof, cutting off the escape of the men to their aerial ladder.
An elevating platform picked Dunn and McNamara off the roof as all four men waved and yelled for help through the smoke enveloping them. At the same time, an aerial ladder was raised to the roof corner to provide an escape for Harlos and Duggan. It was a perilous moment as the entire roof was in flames by the time the ladder reached them. The roof area where the four fire fighters had been standing was fully involved in flame and some of it was burned away not more than 5 minutes after the rescue was completed.
The first alarm was at 10:49 a.m. and the second followed at 10:59 a.m. Fire Commissioner Robert B. Howard, Jr., skipping a third, ordered a fourth alarm at 11:32 a.m. At the height of the blaze, flames came out every window and through the roof of the structure. Some 15 lines, two aerials and the elevating platform were used to bring the fire under control at 12:57 p.m. The loss was estimated at $145,000.