The fire was reported at 3:50 a.m. at the corner of Genesee Street and Burgard Place. The Buffalo News reported that McCarthy and Croom responded to reports of someone calling for help from inside the building. McCarthy fell into the basement first after the floor collapsed. When Croom attempted to come to McCarthy’s aid, he also fell through the floor.
“Today [Aug. 24] was a day of great tragedy and loss for the brave men and women of the Buffalo Fire Department,” said Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown and Buffalo Fire Commissioner Michael Lombardo in a statement following the fire. “The City of Buffalo and the Fire Department mourns the loss of Lieutenant McCarthy and Firefighter Croom, who responded to their call to duty and did what every fire fighter does every day – sought to protect anyone who might be in danger. We honor the memory of these true heroes and welcome any words of condolence or remembrance.”
Search efforts continue to find the possible civilian victim. An investigation into the cause of the fire also is underway.