Rochester Fire Department helps Buffalo after winter storm

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Three days and 3,000 buildings.

That’s what a team of 25 from the Rochester Fire Department deal with after Buffalo was slammed with snow last week.

Just getting to the Queen City was a battle. It was déjà vu for some members of the fire department, including Capt. Ed Tracey. The last time they were called out to Buffalo to help with an Arctic blast was 2014.

“In 2014, I was part of a crew of six. Definitely more snow than last time. We had tracked vehicles, we brought some smaller vehicles that could get us around, and we brought a fire truck full of tools and equipment,” Tracey said.

The New York State Office of Fire and Prevention Control specifically requested RFD’s Technical Rescue Team.

“Our main mission was to be ready for any entrapment issue in Erie County along with New York State and help the local fire departments as best we could.”

The second mission was damage assessment with a focus on mobile home communities “to help people that may be trapped in buildings collapsing from the weight of the snow,” Tracey said.

And they did just that. Tracey said his crews were able to help 44 people across Erie County, including one woman who was trapped inside her home after the snow forced a portion of it to cave in.

“Her carport collapsed under the weight of the snow blocking her only way in and out. Members were able to remove the snow and then use a saw blade to cut it open so the woman could come and go as she pleased.”

Rochester has been pretty lucky this winter season. The captain says his team is always prepared to help, but in the event the tables turn, he says, he knows Buffalo would return the favor.