A Buffalo pediatrician and two of his daughters died in a nighttime fire in North Buffalo, according to the Buffalo Fire Department.
The mother was in serious condition after inhaling smoke from the fire at 194 Huntington Ave. She was taken by ambulance to Erie County Medical Center.
Relatives have confirmed that the three people who died were Dr. Jonathan D. Daniels, 53, who was one of the few black pediatricians practicing in the Buffalo area, and his daughters, Jordan A. Daniels, 27, and Jensen A. Daniels, 23 years old.
The mother, Janessa Givens-Daniels, 53, senior associate director of financial aid at the University at Buffalo, was able to escape the fire on her own.
The two-alarm fire broke out at the Huntington single-family home between Parker and Voorhees avenues around 3:36 a.m., said fire marshal William Renaldo.
Firefighters evacuated two people trapped in the attic. Firefighters pulled another person out of a second-story side window, he said.
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Firefighters and AMR paramedics performed CPR, but the father and two daughters died at the scene.
A dog also died in the fire.
Dr. Daniels, who grew up in Buffalo and was the first in his immediate family to graduate from college, said in a 2019 The Buffalo News article that there were few African American students at school. medical school when he attended 25 years ago at the University at Buffalo, and there were still very few of them. He encouraged New York State to invest more in programs that create a pipeline into medical school for more young African American, Latino and Latino students and others underrepresented in medicine.
Daniels was one of four black pediatricians and among only three dozen black physicians practicing in the Buffalo area, according to the Reverend Kinzer Pointer, co-organizer of the African-American Task Force on Health Equity.
“African American physicians are not readily available and serve a large African American community in this area,” Pointer said.
The loss of Dr. Daniels is one that the Reverend George Nicholas, head of the African-American Task Force on Health Actions, describes as another devastating blow to the black community.
“I took my sons to Dr. Daniels, all four of them. He was a terrific doctor. He was talking to them about being a black man and about sexuality. It was just that kind of care,” Nicholas said. “He was a good doctor, a good husband, a good man and a good father.”
Daniels and his wife also have another daughter, Jillian, who was not present at the time of the fire.
In an interview with The News, Jillian Daniels said her father was a well-loved pediatrician in the community, who if he were here would say something like “we have to keep moving forward”.
She said the three Daniels sisters were all best friends. When she had to make important decisions in her life, Jillian Daniels said she knew she could turn to her older and younger sister.
Jordan was witty, caring and a firm believer in everything she did, she said, while Jensen had a fierce intelligence that she truly admired.
As she tries to honor her father’s words and keep moving forward, Jillian Daniels said she is grateful for her mother’s survival and the support of her friends.
UB President Satish K. Tripathi released a statement calling the fire a devastating tragedy.
“As a university community, our collective hearts are broken by the devastating tragedy that claimed the lives of a beloved faculty member, Dr. Daniels, and his two cherished daughters, one of whom is an alumnus. “, said Tripathi. “Our deepest condolences and thoughts go out to Janessa as we pray for her full recovery.”
Jordan Daniels received his MBA from the University at Buffalo School of Management in May.
Dr. Daniels served as Associate Director of Admissions at UB’s Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
“Dr. Daniels was a valued colleague, physician, mentor, and friend, and his absence will leave an unsolvable void in our school community,” said Dr. Allison Brashear, UB Vice President for Life Sciences. Health and Dean of the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.”He was a tireless advocate for the diversification of the medical workforce and worked closely with the Associated Medical Schools of New York to expand the pool of scholars choosing careers in medicine and health care, providing academic enrichment and support to students from economically underserved education and/or backgrounds.
While pursuing his undergraduate degree, Dr. Daniels joined the United States Army Reserve’s 365th Evacuation Hospital in his sophomore year so he could pay off his student loans. He served as a combat medic during Operation Desert Storm.
After returning to Buffalo and completing his undergraduate degree, Daniels enrolled in and completed his residency at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
The smell of smoke lingered in the air on Huntington Avenue Monday morning as onlookers stopped to observe the scene. A woman left a bouquet of flowers.
Fire truck sirens woke up neighbors, said fellow neighborhood resident Holly Cercone.
“I immediately started praying because I had never heard so many sirens before,” she said.
In nearly 25 years of living in the neighborhood, Cercone said she had never witnessed such a level of devastation.
“If you pass by here and look at this, what remains of this house and your heart is unmoved? I don’t know,” she added.
John Fantini, a neighbor who witnessed the fire from his house opposite, said the sirens also woke him up. When he looked out his bedroom window, he could see the back of the house engulfed in flames.
“I have never been so close to a fire like this,” he added.
Neighbors told fire investigators they saw flames in the back of the house. When firefighters arrived, flames were coming from the attic window, the commissioner said.
Investigators believe the fire started on the second floor and spread to the attic.
The cause of the fire was under investigation. We didn’t think it was fireworks.
Five firefighters were injured and taken to ECMC, where they were treated and released. Several suffered minor burns to their ears and necks. One of them suffered ankle and knee injuries.
The fire department estimated the damage to the home at approximately $230,000. A neighboring house at 200 Huntington suffered approximately $55,000 in damage per exposure.
News team reporter Leah Clark contributed to this report.
Reach Aaron in Abesecker[at]buffnews.com or 716-849-4602.