Father Dan O’Hara has been alongside Syracuse firefighters at every major fire as they battle flames and smoke for the last 20 years.

Father O’Hara has been providing support to fire crews for two decades, as the tragedies that affect the victims also take a toll on the men and women who answer the call.

“They pull up, they run and jump off. Their goal is to make sure everybody is out of there no matter what, no matter when and to do everything in their power to achieve it,” Father O’Hara said.

On Friday, as crews responded to a North Side fire that killed six people, Father O’Hara was there with them.

Over the next few days, he will stop by the fire stations regularly to check in – he says firefighters have their hearts in every call.

And the tragedy on Martin Street causes everyone to search for answers.

“For a lot of us, it’s trying to figure out the question, “why?” Why the event occurred? Why is it now? For myself, I’m always looking for the hand of God in the midst of the rubble or in the midst of the tragedy and where is that hand? It might take a few days to find it, but ultimately it will show itself,” Father O’Hara said.

Father O’Hara says most people never imagine a tragedy could happen in our own neighborhood, but when it does, he says he hopes neighbors will come together and be united, and move forward just like the brotherhood of the Syracuse Fire Department.

“Just try to walk as one and walk together because in so many ways that’s how we get through these things by reaching out to each other,” Father O’Hara said.

The priest says our firefighters are always ready to be there for those affected by fires – and there’s always something we can do in return.

“Keep the guys, always in their prayers and always in their focus because when the bell hits, they go. They drop everything they’re doing,” he said.

Father O’Hara is the pastor at Immaculate Heart of Mary in the town of Salina.