Firefighter Mark Reed, 26, who was critically injured battling an arson at a vacant Wende Street house last week, had to have his leg amputated Tuesday in Erie County Medical Center, a source close to his family said.
Infection had spread in the right leg of Reed, threatening to spread to organs in his body and hampering doctors' efforts to conduct additional medical procedures, the source said.
A CT scan of Reed's brain also showed a more severe injury than originally anticipated, the source said.
Fire Department officials would not confirm the report Tuesday.
"He's still critical on a respirator in an induced coma," said Commissioner Michael S. Lombardo, who said he expects more information will be available today.
The update on Reed, stationed with Engine 31, hit his family and fellow firefighters particularly hard Tuesday following news of the deaths of nine firefighters battling a fire Monday night in a Charleston, S.C., store, which collapsed, resulting in the largest single loss of firefighters in the nation since Sept. 11, 2001.
The condition of Reed, a 10-year veteran of the Buffalo Fire Department, has remained critical -- wavering between stable and unstable -- since June 10, when a chimney collapsed on him as he fought the fire in a vacant house at 120 Wende St.
Doctors at ECMC, where Reed has been a patient since the fire, also performed a tracheotomy following the amputation surgery Tuesday, the source said. The purpose wasn't immediately clear.
Doctors are keeping Reed in a medically induced coma to control swelling in his brain.
Reed's wife, Nancy, and his parents, Edward and Barbara, remain with Reed, praying for his recovery.
The family issued a statement Monday, thanking the Fire Department, medical teams at ECMC and the public.
"The outpouring of genuine concern from family, friends, schoolchildren and strangers is encouraging," the statement said. "Please continue praying."
Fire investigators, in the meantime, are concentrating efforts to hunt down the person responsible for the fire. A $10,000 reward fund from donors has been established.
Anyone with information is asked to contact investigators at 851-4515.