Thousands Expected to Honor West Webster Firefighters

1:30 PM, Dec 30, 2012   |    comments
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Rochester Democrat and Chronicle/WGRZ Report

WEBSTER, N.Y. - The Rochester community and firefighters from all over the country will attend calling hours at Schroeder High School in Webster Saturday to pay respects to Mike Chiapperini and Tomasz Kaczowka, two West Webster firefighters shot on Christmas Eve.

The first wake was held Friday night, and more than 1,000 people gathered to remember the victims of the Monday's tragic shootings.

Hundreds of local firefighters from districts across Western New York are attending the services in Webster.

"When it comes down to the loss of a brother fireman, we're one big family, and if that fire company needs anything, they got it," Kenmore firefighter Felix Coniglio told 2 on Your Side.

Saturday's crowd is expected to be much larger with perhaps as many as 5,000 people in attendance, officials said.

The calling hours run from noon to 3 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday. Chiapperini's funeral service will be held Sunday, and a Mass for Kaczowka will be held Monday.

Outside the school, Richard Yannotti, 13, was giving out hand warmers on a chilly Saturday as snow blanketed the parking lot. Yannotti and his mother, Bonnie, bought 300 of them to provide extra warmth for those waiting in the cold.

Jill Simoni has been a long-time friend of Chiapperini's wife, Kim, and came out Saturday to show her support. Simoni lives in Washington D.C. but was back home for the holidays.

"I think that everyone's doing a great job coming together to support Kim and her kids," she said.

Attendees are asked to park at Schroeder High School, 875 Ridge Road. Once that lot is full, vehicles will be directed to Thomas High School, 800 Five Mile Line Road where buses will be provided to Schroeder.

State Police officials said that motorists not attending the wake should avoid Ridge Road between Five Mile Line Road and Hard Road due to heavy traffic. About 100 people are working at Schroeder to keep things organized.

Dawn Nguyen, of Greece, NY, was charged Friday with buying two of the three weapons that William Spengler, Jr. used in the Christmas Eve shooting of four volunteer firefighters.

More information can be found at the West Webster Fire Department's website.

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle/WGRZ-TV

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