Thousands show up for calling hours for fallen West Webster firefighters

Posted at: 12/29/2012 6:49 PM
Updated at: 12/29/2012 11:25 PM
By: Joangel Concepcion

Firefighters and first responders from across the country came out to pay their respects to the fallen heroes in Webster, some waiting in line for more than three hours.

Calling hours for the two firefighters killed in the ambush on Christmas Eve were held again Saturday at Webster Schroeder High School.

Mike Chiapperini was a lieutenant and volunteer firefighter for the Webster Police Department. Tomasz Kaczowka was also a volunteer firefighter and a 911 dispatcher.

Two separate calling hours were set up and thousands showed up to offer their condolences and to honor the fallen heroes throughout the day.

There was an outpouring of support from friends, family, first responders and even complete strangers.

Patti Caffaro says, "The entire thing is surreal. I'm still numb and I probably will be for a very long time."

Lifelong Webster residents, Bruce and Patti Coffaro were two of thousands of people who paid tribute to the fallen heroes.

Patti says, "You didn't even have to know him. You just look at a picture and you know he's a good man."

It was a tragedy that struck so deep. It drew first responders near and far.

Chief David Adamberger from the Depew Fire Department in Buffalo says, "It was a somber moment. You don't hear things like that... people shooting at firefighters trying to save people, save residents."

Men and women braved the snow and freezing temperatures throughout the day. The line stretched all the way around the high school and beyond.

Chief Adamberger says, "When someone goes down like this, we try to back everybody up, help their families and do what we can to help."

Jolene Bojar, Vigilant Fire Department in West Seneca says, "All firefighters are a brotherhood. Even females are part of that brotherhood and it's important to hold up with everybody."

There are still so many questions surrounding that horrific morning on Christmas Eve.

Firefighters tell News10NBC, some things are to change.

Chief Adamberger says, "I'm sure they'll be looking over their shoulder more than usual. You don't expect something like this to happen, but it did. It's just the world we live in."

While others believe, some things will always stay the same.

Bojar says, "I think safety is more of an issue now. I don't believe that we're going to stop, we're still answering calls. We're still serving out community and it's very important to us to help others."

Around 3 p.m. Saturday, injured Joseph Hofstetter and Theodore Scardino were brought in by ambulance which was a very touching moment.

The support from the community came from all angles. Since the lines were so long, many members of the community passed out bottled water, helped set up a coffee station and gave out hand warmers to the crowds.