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Webster firefighters honored in national memorial

Rochester, N.Y. -- Two West Webster firefighters have been recognized in a National Fallen Firefighters memorial service in Maryland, which honored 81 firefighters who died in the line of duty last year.

Thousands of firefighters and families met in Maryland Sunday to mourn and remember the 81 lives lost. Flags and roses were handed out to grieving families and the names of the firefighters who died in the line of duty were read aloud. Then, two names caused a stir a section of the bleachers.

Forty-three-year-old Lieutenant Mike Chipperini and 19-year-old Tomasz Kaczowka were killed in the line of duty, not by flames, but by gunfire. They were shot responding to a fire in West Webster on Christmas Eve last year.

West Webster firefighter Ken Smith says he lost two brothers that day, "Two of our firefighter were murdered on that morning and it's a shame that they had to go."

Because of what happened that day, Smith and more than a 100 others went to the National Fallen Firefighter's memorial service to pay tribute to Chipperini and Kaczowka, and thank them for their service.

"We're honored to be here to honor them and to represent them and to pay respects for what they did for us, and for the community," Smith said.

Because of the government shutdown, Sunday's ceremony was held at a local college, not the national emergency training center where the national memorial stands.

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Washington Times