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Fred Larson, ex-chief of Fire Prevention Bureau and subject of a Pulitzer Prize finalist photo

March 27, 1931– June 27, 2016

Fred Larson, of Getzville, a Buffalo firefighter who appeared in a photo of a dramatic fire in 1970 that was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, died Monday in Williamsville. He was 85.

Mr. Larson was depicted trying to revive an infant he saved from a burning building, alongside the child’s father. The infant later died. The photo by Ron Moscati appeared on the front page of the Courier-Express and was third runner-up in the Pulitzer Prize’s Spot News Photography category, which was won that year by photos from the Kent State University shootings.

Mr. Larson began his career with the Buffalo Fire Department in 1960 and worked his way up the ranks to lieutenant, captain and chief. He was appointed a battalion chief in 1978 and became chief of the Fire Prevention Bureau in 1983, a post he held until he retired in 2001.

At the same time, Mr. Larson held a variety of second jobs. He was a construction worker, cab driver, liquor truck driver, substitute history teacher and delivery man for UPS.

Born in Buffalo, he was a graduate of Fosdick-Masten Park High School.

He was a youth football coach in the 1970s and an official for high school and college football games locally for 47 years. He was an avid Buffalo Bills and Dallas Cowboys fan.

Survivors include his wife, Rita; and two sons, Raymond and Fred Jr.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Thursday in St. John Maron Catholic Church, 2040 Wehrle Drive, Williamsville.

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