NFFD in the News

Daniel Thomas joined Niagara Falls’ bravest in 1952

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) — A state-of-the-art engine joining the fleet in Niagara Falls will bear the name of a revolutionary firefighter who made history as the first African American to join the Niagara Falls Fire Department.

Daniel Thomas joined Niagara Falls’ bravest in 1952, when it was still almost unheard of for an African American to be in such a position. He later ascended to the rank of fire captain and became highly decorated.

Many still remember Thomas, including his wife Dorothy Thomas, who said he put the safety of others ahead of his own until the day he died in 2013. She took a pause to remember how even when jumping into the line of duty, he would find a way to ease her nerves.

“He got hurt several times, he never told me, I had to hear it from somebody else, he said, ‘Why bother?’” she said.

Mrs. Thomas said she slept light, and she always worried when he would get up to leave for a fire call.

“Whenever he would go out he would come by, put the spotlight on the window to let me know he was okay,” Mrs. Thomas said. “To me, that was all the love I needed.”

The love the fire captain showed also shined through the Niagara Falls Fire Department Christmas Toy Fund. Those who remember him said he championed the cause over 33 years, even returning to western New York to participate in the fund when he retired to Florida.

Fire Calls 04-27-2015 to 05-10-2015

The Niagara Falls Fire Department responded to 275 incidents during the period of 4-27-15—5-10-15 bringing the yearly total to 2392 incidents.

Brush fire: Unusual dry conditions for this time of the year contributed to a brush fire in the 7400 block of Niagara Falls Boulevard at 5:59 p.m. on 4-30-15. Crews from Engine 9 and Engine 7 were on the scene for over an hour extinguishing the fire.

Camper fire: Platoon 4 responded to a report of a camper on fire in the 400 block of Memorial Parkway at 2:03 a.m. on 5-03-15. The camper was old and in rough shape and was fully involved upon crews arrival, and after extinguishment damage was estimated at $500. The cause remains under investigation.

Vehicle fire: A car fire in the 2900 block of 22nd St. sent Platoon 4 to the scene at 5:49 a.m. on 5-03-15. A 2015 Chevy Malibu had heavy fire in both the engine and passenger compartments which spread to a nearby 1999 Pontiac Grand Prix. Damage to the Malibu was listed at $20,000 and to the Grand Prix at $3000 and it is still being investigated.

Kitchen fire: Unattended cooking was the reason for a kitchen fire in an apartment at a complex in the 4600 block of Hyde Park Boulevard at 4:16 p.m. on 5-04-15. Damage to the stove and cupboards after extinguishment was pegged at $4000. A working smoke alarm alerted 2 Adults and 2 children and allowed them to exit the premises safely.

Electrical fire:Platoon 1 was dispatched to the 500 block of Portage Road for an electrical fire in the living room of a house at 4:52 P.M. on 5-08-15. Arriving crews discovered an electrical outlet producing smoke resulting from rain water coming down the wall and causing a short in the outlet. Damage to the wall and outlet was judged to be $200.

Structure fire: A full assignment from Platoon 4 responded to the 500 block of 28th St. for a house fire at 8:34 a.m. on 5-9-15. Engine 8’s crew consisting of Captain Jeffrey Meacham, Firefighters Ryan Garrow, Thomas Cutler, and Greg Dusher stretched a hoseline through the rear door and extinguished the fire which was located in a spare bedroom on the first floor. Careless use of power strips and extension cords was the cause of the fire which ended up in $20,000 damage to building and contents.