Firefighters in Rochester are mourning the loss of one of their own.
Firefighter Elvis Reyes died from complications from surgery related to an on-duty injury, according to IAFF Local 1071.
Reyes, a 20-year veteran with the department, saved two people from a fire in 2009. He also was lauded for valiant work during Hurricane Sandy.
“Firefighter Reyes has made an indelible mark on the Rochester Fire Department, and his legacy lives on through his sons Reid and Remington, both dedicated Rochester Firefighters themselves,” a city statement read.
The IAFF remembered him fondly: “A figurative and literal giant of a man in the firehouse and the community, Elvis was well known to all who crossed paths with him. In the firehouse, Elvis was the senior man teaching and guiding new firefighters with a strong fatherly presence. A worker on the fire ground, Elvis was always where the action was.”
Off the job, they said he attended every charitable and social event the Rochester Fire Department or Local 1071 put on. Elvis was the slugger on the softball field and the man with the candy for the St Patrick’s, Puerto Rican, and Labor Day parades.
During his career Elvis received numerous departmental and community awards for heroic rescues and firefighting work, as well as community involvement. He also shared his expertise with crews in the Dominican Republic.
Fire Chief Felipe Hernandez Jr. said in a statement: “Firefighter Reyes was an outstanding, dedicated firefighter who was very committed to serving the community. We will always remember him for his great smile and the positive energy he brought whenever he entered a room.”
Mayor Malik Evans said in a statement: “I express my deepest gratitude and condolences to the Reyes family.”