Posted at: 12/25/2012 11:21 PM
Updated at: 12/26/2012 10:46 AM
By: Joangel Concepcion
The entire community is trying to cope or understand Monday's tragic events in Webster.
It's hard to imagine what local firefighters are going through.
The West Webster Fire Department has turned into a place where locals are coming together to deal with their grief.
The community knows very well that this is just the beginning of a very long grieving process.
Hundreds of people have made their way down to the Fire Department since the tragedy Monday morning and the amount of support for the first responders just keeps on growing.
"I don't look at it as just a firefighter. I look at it as one of my brothers that went down in the line of duty."
For Brighton volunteer firefighter Ken Matzan and first responders across the nation, the last day and a half have been confusing and surreal.
"It just affects us all. We don't expect for something like this to happen. We train to fight fires. We don't expect to step off the truck and get shot at. I think it's absolutely ridiculous," Matzan said.
Matzan was one of hundreds of people showing support to the West Webster firefighters.
Members of the community started a vigil Monday morning shortly after the tragedy. By Tuesday it had grown, with even more candles, flowers and stuffed animals.
Many members of the community took time out of their Christmas day to offer their condolences.
"Being part of the Webster community my whole life, it kind of hit home," said resident Jerry Ippolito.
Firefighters from all over the area also pitched in.
"We've got their backs. I mean, it's so sad," said Mike Laude, Assistant Fire Chief for the Brockport Fire Deptartment.
West Webster firefighters returned to work Tuesday evening, the first time since the tragedy. Several fire departments had taken over running the department, including Laude and his team.
"It's a worldwide brotherhood, comes together. Any tragedy like this happens, you'll see us come together," Laude said.
Several firefighters rotated shifts. A different fire department took over every six hours.
West Webster firefighters may be ready to return to work, but local fire departments are ready to help, if they should need anything at all.
"It's going to be a long time before this department gets over this. I understand. If they need us to come back out, we'll be here," said Laude.
The West Webster Volunteer Firemen's Association has set up a fund to help out the four families affected by this tragedy. You can donate here.