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Remembering two fallen firefighters one year later

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By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – Buffalo Firefighters are remembering two fellow firefighters who died one year ago.

Lt. Charles "Chip" McCarthy and Firefighter Jonathan Croom died August 24, 2009 while searching a burning deli and apartment building on Genesee Street near Bailey Avenue.

At 4 a.m. Tuesday morning, firefighters gathered at the former site of the tragic fire to lay a wreath in their honor.

Both firefighters entered the burning burning building in an attempt to safe a person they believed was trapped inside. But later it was determined there was no one trying to get out of the building.

Following the early morning ceremony a Mass was held at St. Joseph's University church on Main Street. Then two remembrance ceremonies were held at Rescue One on Jefferson Avenue and Ladder 7-on Main Street where the two men worked.

Family, friends, firefighters and city leaders gathered to mark the one year anniversary of the tragic fire. Father Joseph Bayne, Buffalo Fire Department Chaplin, spoke at the Ladder 7 ceremony.

There is still no cause listed for the blaze. Buffalo Mayor Brown said he has no answer to why it has not been determined.

"I have not spoken to fire officials recently. I know they have done some extensive follow up and some extensive review. What the final determination is at this point, I'm not sure," said Mayor Brown.

The Buffalo Fire Department issued an investigative report. While it does not list a cause, the report concluded that Lt. McCarthy transmitted on a "direct" mode from his fire radio. That gave him limited range. The report said that was why his call for help was heard only from the scene. Mayor Brown said they both died heroes.

"They were courageous members of our fire department that put their lives on the he live and made the ultimate sacrifice for this community," said Mayor Brown.