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Emergency chief given praise in Clarence Bissonette lauded for work at crash site as he updates board about remediation

Less than two weeks after Continental Connection Flight 3407 crashed into Clarence Center, the community's emergency services coordinator presented the Town Board an update on remediation efforts at the site.

The board Wednesday night praised David Bissonette, who coordinated the removal, disposal and restoration efforts on behalf of the town, and extended messages of condolence to victims and their families.

Bissonette thanked residents for their community spirit and support during what he described as a "difficult time" for all affected by the tragedy.

"After 12 days of nonstop efforts in an attempt to maintain a semblance of order in our town, I've never been more energized," Bissonette said. "I can't say enough about this town. I'm humbled by the support the Town Board has given me."

About 1,464 tons of contaminated materials have been removed from the crash site and taken to landfills, while other material has been taken elsewhere for testing, he said.

Bissonette added that all but four families have returned to their homes after the evacuation of the surrounding area. The families that have not yet returned have elected to perform additional work on their homes before returning.

"That's what this is about," Bissonette said. "We want to bring back a sense of normalcy in residents' lives."

Bissonette said that shortly after the crash, in which 50 people were killed, federal agents told him to expect the remediation process to last as long as six weeks.

But thanks to the efforts of 1,185 workers from across Erie County, an 11-day turnaround was achieved.

Councilman Patrick Casilio praised the diligence of all involved in the efforts at the site.

"I feel we got the positive results we did because everyone involved did their job," said Casilio, who helped at the site as a member of the town's Volunteer Fire Department.

"Everyone worked together toward a common goal."

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