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Webster remembers Christmas Eve 2012

Two Webster firefighters were killed in the ambush eight years ago

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Tomazs Kaczowka (left) and Mike Chiapperini (right) were killed on Christmas Eve eight years ago.

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Webster, NY - As they do every year, people took a moment out of their busy holiday lives to remember the two West Webster firefighters who died in an ambush on Lake Road back in 2012.


Mike Chiapperini and Tomazs Kaczowka were shot and killed by William Spengler, who ambushed first responders after setting fire to a car and nearby homes.


A small remembrance was held early Christmas Eve morning - 5:36 a.m. - with COVID-19 precautions in place.


Attendees were asked to “keep a respectable distance to ensure that the focus remains on the sacrifices that were made eight years ago,” Al Sienkiewicz, public information officer for the West Webster Fire District, wrote in an email to the media.


In 2012, I was still in college. I was home for Christmas break. Christmas Eve morning, once we got wind of what was happening in Webster (we lived in the Town of Greece), we all sat in the living room watching the news as the reports came in.


It was a very somber morning. Even though I wasn’t yet working in Webster, I still recognized the sad significance of that day.


As bad as 2020 has been for many of us, for the men and women personally affected by that event eight years ago, that was likely the worst Christmas Eve they ever had.


Two other first responders suffered injuries that day, but were fortunate enough to survive.


A small memorial still resides in the area where Chiapperini and Kaczowka were killed.