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Tragedy's impact on Webster

Updated: Tuesday, December 24 2013, 06:54 PM EST

Webster, N.Y.—Christmas Eve 2012 left Webster to mourn what was lost.

“It was horrible,” said Mark Ballou of Webster. “My daughter and I were actually heading out to Bristol that day and we saw a bunch of commotion down by Lake Road, there and weren’t totally sure what had happened.”

By the time they returned from Bristol, they knew, the entire town knew. A gunman’s trap resulted in the death of two firemen and serious injuries suffered by two others.

“It was devastating for us,” explained Ballou. “We have friends in the West Webster fire department, kids that Mike, my son has played hockey with and that it was just heartfelt—horrible.”

On Christmas Eve 2012, four firemen were shot while responding to a fire at the Spengler home, 191 Lake Road. West Webster firefighters Tomasz Kaczowka and Michael Chiapperini were killed by gunman William Spengler. Two other firemen, Joe Hofstetter and Ted Scardino were injured.

Tuesday morning a memorial service was held on Lake Road, where wreaths and crosses lay by the roadside.

“It changes the way you look at life,” said Ballou.

Members of the Webster community said the tragedy has had a major impact on their lives.

“It makes you appreciate your loved ones more, my daughter staying with me from out of town--I just feel--my heart goes out to the families for those two men that were lost," said Greg Taylor, a lifelong Webster resident.

“Webster is a closer community so I was very proud of this town because everybody came together., They chipped in, tried to counsel each other and were there for each other.”

Christmas Eve 2013 reminds Webster what was lost while encouraging townspeople to treasure what remains.

“I think Webster as a town has gotten closer, it’s I mean, I always considered it a small town and it makes me feel like it’s that much more of a family now,” Ballou said.

Tragedy's impact on Webster

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Washington Times