Just before 6 am on Christmas Eve, four volunteer firefighters from the West Webster Fire District responded to a call for a vehicle fire. Upon their arrival, a horrific incident occurred.
A cowardly shooter, who shall not be named out of respect for the fallen, had lured the firefighters to the scene by purposefully starting the fire. When they arrived, he opened fire on the truck. The incident details are widely varied and uncofirmed for the most part at this point, but the unfortunate truth is that all four were shot and injured, with firefighters Mike Chiapperini and Tomasz Kaczowka losing their lives.
Chiapperini was a 20+ year veteran of the Webster Police department, as well as a lieutenant. Tomasz was involved just more than a year with the department, and worked as a 911 dispatcher.
I'd like to reiterate one thing here; both of these men VOLUNTEERED their time to help serve their community. They answered their call with grace, honor, courage, and dignity, and should forever be remembered for these acts.
Where will your donation go? That's up to the members of the victim's families and the West Webster Fire Department to decide. They will receive 100% of these funds to help set up a memorial in their honor.
I myself am a first responder in the district bordering the the immediate west of West Webster. In fact, I responded on our truck to fill in and eventually ended up at this scene. Also, firefighter Ted Scardino, who was also injured in this incident, is a long-time family friend. What we all saw was something we couldn't even comprehend. While my fellow firefighters and I will live with these memories forever, the rest of the world should remember these two brave men for all the good that they did.
Please let me know if you have any questions or suggestions about the donations. If you would like to verify the legitimacy of this fundraiser, please contact the Laurelton Fire Department at 585-482-8584. I will be reaching out to the West Webster Fire Department the day after Christmas to establish the transfer of funds. However, I ask that you please respect the privacy and mourning of our members for a few days.