December 24, 2012 is a date that people in Rochester, NY never forget.
At 5:35 a.m. that morning, 2 firefighters from the West Webster NY Fire Dept. arrived at a house fire on Lake Rd. next to Lake Ontario. Sadly, they never returned to their families to celebrate Christmas.
Firefighter Mike Chiapperini was 43-years-old and a successful Lt. in the Webster Police Dept. His partner on that cold fateful Christmas Eve morning was 23-year-old Tomasz Kaczowka, who not only volunteered with the WWFD, but also worked at the 911 Emergency Operations Center.
The Chief of the Webster Police Dept. Jerry Pickering had the unenviable duty of relaying the information that would rock Western New York on Christmas Eve 2012.
Chief Pickering was joined at a later press conference by a fellow law enforcement legend in Rochester, Sheriff Patrick O'Flynn, as more details were sadly announced, including the fact that the Chief's fellow command officer and friend had been murdered.
As we wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, please take a moment to remember Chip and Tomasz. They gave their lives to help others. They will forever be heroes.
We wish peace and solace to their families, and safety to fellow firefighters and police officers who sacrifice so much on a daily basis year round. God bless the Chiapperinis and Kaczowkas, all firefighters, cops and our troops.
This touching tribute was produced by fellow Firefighter Erick Cox as a lasting memory of what these families went through: