West Webster Fire District honors fallen firefighters

Posted at: 12/22/2013 1:21 PM
Updated at: 12/22/2013 11:54 PM
By: Chalonda Roberts

The community came together Sunday morning to remember and pay tribute to four firefighters killed in the line of duty.

It's been nearly a year since two of those firefighters, Michael Chiapperini and Tomasz Kaczowka, were killed in the line of duty in a shooting on Christmas Eve. A lone gunman opened fire on emergency responders on Lake Road in West Webster.

The four heroes will be forever memorialized at the West Webster Fire Department.

It was an emotional tribute to these firefighters who made the ultimate sacrifice for their community.

There have been several dedications and memorials for the West Webster Firefighters that were killed or wounded last Christmas Eve, but this one is different. It's one that permanently sits on the grounds of the firehouse. Members of the department say now they have a place for people to come to remember their loved ones who died while serving others.

“He is and will always be greatly loved and missed,” said Chaplain W. Hugh Knight.

Knight wiped his tears as he remembered Mike Chiapperini and Tomasz Kaczowka.

“Tomaz's dedication and drive to succeed in civil service serves as proof that age is not always an accurate measure of a persons character and ability,” said Knight.

Family , friends and dozens of fellow firefighters from throughout the county gathered to honor four men who died while serving the West Webster Fire Department. On the minds of many was the most recent deaths of Mike Chiapperini and Tomasz Kaczowka. David Clapp and William Bostian also lost their lives in the line of duty.

The firefighters were honored at a memorial site on the grounds of the fire department. There's a stone monument listing the names of those who died in the line of duty, and at the center is a large bronze fireman.

“Over the past few months there have been memorial celebrations at the national and state levels. Now we stand proud to have our own memorial on the grounds of our firehouse,” said Ted Scardino, who was injured in the Christmas Eve ambush.

“No matter how far we get away from this, we are always going to go back to 2012 and what happened on that morning,” said Al Sienkiewicz, West Webster Fire Department Spokesman.

At the end of the service there was a closing prayer.

“Praise God, from whom all blessings flow. Praise him, all creators here below. Praise him above the heavenly host. Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.”

On Christmas Eve a vigil will be held on Lake Road in Webster at the scene of the tragedy. The families of Mike Chiapperini and Tomasz Kaczowka will have a private "moment of silence"  from 5:30 a.m. until 6 a.m.

Following that, members of the West Webster Fire Department and the emergency personnel who responded to the scene will hold a candle light vigil. Both are closed to the public.

The public will be allowed to view the memorial from 8 a.m. until 10 a.m.