BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) – The death of a trapped firefighter in a Buffalo costume store explosion was ruled accidental and no criminal charges will be filed, prosecutors said Thursday.
Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said at a press conference that the March 1 fire was caused by a torch used in the brick exterior of the three-story building, which ignited clothing bags inside. He said at a press conference that it turned out to be the origin.
The fire caused at least two explosions, stranded firefighters outside the building, and sent smoke and debris into downtown streets. Fire Commissioner William Renald described the explosion captured on video as a backdraft, which he said occurred when oxygen was “sucked into the building and then blown back”.
It was after the initial explosion and an evacuation order that firefighters determined that firefighter Jason Arno, whom firefighters issued a mayday call, was missing. When firefighters re-entered, Flynn said they found him trapped in a metal clothing rack, but were unable to free him and were forced out of the building by a second explosion. .
“The clothes rack must have fallen on him,” Flynn said.
The bodies were recovered about three and a half hours after the fire started. Flynn said the man died from smoke inhalation and burns.
Arno, 37, got married in the summer and has a three-year-old daughter. He worked in the fire department for three years.
Flynn said investigators suspected that the torch contractors used metal shovels to try to push the flames away from the plywood door, but the sparks traveled under the door and ignited the clothing. He said he judged it to be high quality. In ruling out criminal charges, prosecutors said there was no evidence workers ignored the potential danger of using torches to melt snow and ice from sidewalks and buildings before masonry work began. Stated.
“Stupid, but not criminal,” he said.
The building, which was vacant except for a clothing store, was purchased four months ago by former US Congressman Chris Jacobs.