The Erie County sheriff's marine unit was preparing for a routine patrol Sunday when it spotted black smoke from a fire on Niagara Street and rushed to the scene to help the occupants out of a burning building.
Deputies noticed the smoke at about noon while fueling up their boat, which is based at Harbor Place Marine along the Niagara River.
They rushed to the multi-family residence at 2129 Niagara St., where reserve deputy James DeLacy went into the burning building and helped four people to safety.
DeLacy and fellow deputies Scott Piel and Warren Luick then went to neighboring houses to notify residents.
"We tried to make the area secure until the Fire Department arrived," said Piel.
The fire caused $50,000 damage to the building and $20,000 damage to the contents, according to the Buffalo Fire Department. The cause remains under investigation, officials said.
No one was injured. But as a result of the fire damage, the American Red Cross was called to assist four adults and six children.