Webster Prepares to Bury Fallen Firefighters

11:43 PM, Dec 27, 2012   |    comments
Photo: WHEC
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By Megan DeMarco
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

As Webster prepares to say goodbye to its fallen heroes this weekend, firefighters from across the country plan to flood Rochester to show their support for Mike Chiapperini and Tomasz Kaczowka.

Chiapperini, 43, and Kaczowka, 19, were gunned down at a fire scene in Webster on Christmas Eve. Police say William Spengler Jr. set the fire to lure first responders.

Calling hours for both men will begin Friday night, for members of the West Webster Fire Department, Webster Fire Department and Webster police only.

The public can pay respects on Saturday, Dec. 29, at Schroeder High School, 875 Ridge Road in Webster. Calling hours will be from 12 to 3 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m.

There will be a service for Chiapperini at noon on Sunday at the high school, then a procession will move to the burial. A fire chaplain will officiate the service, said Jeff Scott, owner of Willard H. Scott Funeral Home, which is coordinating the services.

The procession will move from Five Mile Line Road along Ridge Road to Empire Boulevard to West Webster Cemetery. Since the service is at noon, the procession will probably tie up Ridge Road for about an hour between 1 and 2 p.m., Scott said.

The procession will include police and fire trucks from the Webster Police Department, Webster and West Webster Fire Departments.

Attendees should park in the rear parking lots for the service. Scott said up to a couple thousand people are expected to attend.

Kaczowka will have a funeral mass at St. Stanislaus Church, Hudson Avenue and Norton Street, at 10 a.m. on Monday.

Attendees are encouraged to car pool because of limited parking in the area. The burial will be held at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Rochester.

In addition to local friends and family, firefighters from all over the country are planning to attend. Local fire departments are making lodging available at fire stations for out-of-town firefighters, and Webster hotels report they are booking rooms from Saturday through Monday.

West Webster Fire Department spokesman Al Sienkiewicz said the department has received more than 300 offers for help from as far away as California.

"There will be out-of-state representation," he said.

Jaime Dengal-Story, director of sales at the Rochester-Webster Hampton Inn, said more than 100 firefighters have rooms booked from Canada, Long Island, and the East Coast.

And others have called to pay for the rooms of the visiting firefighters.

"There will not be a firefighter that stays here that pays for their room," she said. Room donations are coming from corporations, first responders who can't make it to the services, and individuals.

"We have people calling from all over the world," said Theresa Bratton, assistant manager at the Webster/Rochester Super 8. "They're going to pay for the rooms for the guys that are going to stay here."

The West Webster Fire Department said local florists supplies are strained from all the requests for floral arrangements.

At Kittelberger Florist, owner Bill Horeth said extra flowers were shipped in from Miami in anticipation of extra requests.

"We have an abundance of flowers," he said.

Many of the orders coming in are for red, white and blue arrangements, or red and white for firefighters, he said.

Memorials for Chiapperini may be directed to a fund being established for his children at any ESL Federal Credit Union branch.

Memorials in Kaczowka's memory may be directed to the West Webster Fire Department or St. Stanislaus Church.

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

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