Monday, December 22, 2014

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Western NY

Community Turns Out for Calling Hours for Firefighters

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Rochester: Community Turns Out for Calling Hours for Firefighters
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Hundreds came out to honor firefighters Mike Chiapperini and Tomasz Kaczowka at Webster Schroeder High School on Friday evening.

It was a tremendous loss for the fire department and for the community, so it is no surprise that so many people attended calling hours to pay their respects.

"They are very popular individuals, not that that makes it any different, but because they are very popular they are known throughout the community," said Al Sienkiewicz, West Webster Fire Department.

More than 600 came out to Webster Schroeder high school for the calling hours Kaczowka and Chiapperini. A procession brought their caskets into the school one at a time.

The more than 125 West Webster firefighters and their families joined Kaczowka's and Chiapperini's families in a private ceremony for prayer before the viewing was open to the public.

"Law enforcement, EMS, fire have traditionally has always been a brotherhood. It is overwhelming there's no question. As the information officer, I personally have received over 300 offers of support and it helps," said Sienkiewicz.

Hundreds of community members also attended the service to honor those they consider heroes. By the end of the night, a line was formed outside the school's main entrance for the viewing.

Sienkiewicz says this just exemplified the support they received and the impact the two firefighters have had on their community.

"Mike was the public information officer, you know him by Chip. Tomasz's desire to learn the service was so obviously that he was mentored by a couple of people who wanted to bring him along because they saw what asset he was going to be. The loss is tremendous."

Two sessions of calling hours are expected to be held Saturday from noon to 3 p.m. and then from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Webster Schroeder High School.

Funeral services for Chipperinni will at the school Sunday at noon.

A funeral mass will be held for Kaczowka at St. Stanislaus Chruch at 10 a.m.

About 5,000 people are expected to attend those services. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP