Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
Today it happened again in Webster, New York. Two firemen will not be returning to their families tonight for Christmas Eve mass and the family dinner. Their families' lives have been forever shattered. Two more firemen will spend tonight in the hospital fighting for their lives, with their families by their side.
The New York Times reports
2 Firefighters Fatally Shot Near Rochester in Possible Ambush:
Four firefighters were shot — two fatally — after apparently being lured
to an early morning blaze on Monday in Webster, N.Y., a lakefront town
about 12 miles northeast of Rochester, officials said.
The suspected assailant also died at the scene, the town’s police chief,
Gerald L. Pickering said, though it was unclear if he was killed by a
self-inflicted gunshot or by the authorities.
“It does appear that it was a trap that was set,” Chief Pickering said
of the blaze that drew the firefighters. “Causative reasons, we don’t
have at this time.”
One of the firefighters was “able to flee the scene on his own,” he
added. “The other three were pinned down at the location.”
Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester said two firefighters were in
“guarded condition.” The two others died at the scene, Chief Pickering
The firefighters were from the West Webster Fire Department, about four
miles from the blaze, and were believed to be volunteers.
* * *
One of the deceased, Michael J. Chiapperini,
was a police lieutenant in the Webster Police Department; the other,
Tomasz Kaczowka, was a 911 dispatcher for Monroe County.
“These people get up in the middle of the night to go put out fires,” Chief Pickering
said. “They don’t expect to be shot and killed.”
John Ritter, an off-duty police officer from Greece, N.Y., who happened
to be driving by and stopped to help, suffered shrapnel wounds from the
shooting, Chief Pickering added. The firefighters who were injured, both
volunteers, were identified as Joseph Hofstetter and Theodore Scardino.
* * *
Webster firefighters and the police had initially responded to a car fire.
The fire continued to burn through the morning, having spread to several
homes. Four homes were fully engulfed and destroyed, and 33 area
residents were evacuated, Chief Pickering said.
* * *
Vince DiPrima, an assistant manager at Bill Gray’s, a diner across the
bridge from the fires, said some firefighters had visited his restaurant
on Monday morning. He gave them some coffee.
“The stuff that happened in Connecticut the other day, and then this,” Mr. DiPrima said.
“It’s a weird feeling,” Mr. DiPrima said. “It’s Christmas Eve.”
I am reminded of Simon and Garfunkel's version of Silent Night/7 O'Clock News (1966). Cruel reality keeps intruding upon what is supposed to be the season of peace and a time for joy. Please remember these firefighters and their families in your prayers, along with the victims of Newtown, CT and all the victims of gun violence. This national insanity has to stop.
Graphic: Fireman Remembrance Flag.