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Firefighters mark 29th anniversary of deadly propane explosion

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Buffalo: Honoring Fallen Firefighters
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The scars aren't as fresh and the circumstances are different, but like in Webster, families and firefighters in Western New York are remembering one of Buffalo's greatest tragedies. As YNN's Ryan Whalen reports, it's been 29 years since an explosion killed five firefighters.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — "Right where we're standing, the bricks were up to my waste from the building."

Nearly three decades ago, five Buffalo firefighters were killed when a propane gas leak ignited causing an explosion.

Every year since 1983, on December 27th, firefighters, family members, and people from the neighborhood have come back to Grosvenor Street to honor the fallen.

"There's something the just compels you to come every year. These guys are heroes," said Ted Hampton, former resident.

Marc Catanzaro still remembers vividly the night he lost his father Michael.

"It was like a dream. It was like a really, really bad dream. It was something you wish you wake up from but you don't," he said.

This year, the memorial means even more to the Catanzaro's than it has in the past.

"It's one of the proudest days of my life," Catanzaro said.

That's because this year, younger brother Nick, who was nine months old when the explosion happened, is on the job, riding the same truck his dad did.

"Just hearing all the great stories about him, what a great guy he was and how much he loved his job and loved his family, I just wanted to be as much like him as I can," Nick said.

And this year their mother was with them.

"Because I was down here, this is the first year that she's come and it's hard on her but she's dealt with it," said Nick.

The Catanzaro say two families in Webster are on their mind, dealing with the loss of their fathers and husbands like they did so many years ago.

"There is no consolation. The only thing I can say is it's a brotherhood and the brothers will take care of them," Marc said.

Even today, fellow firefighters are still standing by the families of five of Buffalo's Bravest. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP