The Tunnel to Towers Foundation is stepping up in a big way to help fallen firefighter Jason Arno’s loved ones in Buffalo, New York.
The nonprofit’s CEO Frank Siller told WGRZ the group will either pay off the family’s mortgage, purchase another home for them, or build one, the outlet reported Thursday.
“To give them that one security, that one thought that they don’t have to ever worry about that again in their life, to have a mortgage-free home, I think it gives them some comfort in the most desperate time in their lives, and that’s why we let them know right away,” he commented.
While Arno was battling a fire in a vacant building earlier this month, flames from a backdraft blasted through the windows, knocking firefighters outside, per the Associated Press (AP).
After he issued a mayday call from inside, officials did not hear anything else from him, and later found his body.
Thousands of firefighters from around the country gathered at St. Joseph Cathedral for his recent funeral. During the service, Mayor Byron Brown said, “He made it his mission to make our city a better and safer place for everyone.”
Per the Buffalo News, Arno was a devoted father to his little girl:
“He was a well-liked firefighter. For myself, I met him numerous times, and had the pleasure of working with him a few times. I can just see his face, and it’s just that smile, and he was always a great guy to be around,” a union leader told reporters.
Now, Siller is waiting on what Arno’s widow, Sarah, decides to do, because she and their child are grieving.
He started the nonprofit after losing his firefighter brother during the terrorist attacks on 9/11.
Siller knows that kind of heavy loss presents families with difficult decisions, but the foundation is ready to help the Arno family as much as it can.
“That’s why we let them know right away, right away so they don’t even have to think about that. I just want (Sarah) her to know people care,” he explained.