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Vigil held for fallen firefighters

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Buffalo: Vigil held for fallen firefighters
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Several people took time out of their Christmas Eve to hold a vigil in front of the West Webster fire house for the victims of the shooting. YNN’s Sheba Clarke has more.

WEBSTER, N.Y. -- A vigil for the two firefighters killed formed outside the West Webster Fire Department Monday evening. It's a community of heavy hearts.

"It was very painful. They went to do their job. They do all the time and then something like this happens," said Clare Guadagnino, a Webster resident.

Dozens of friends, loved ones and even strangers stopped by the West Webster Fire Station with candles and flowers to honor two fallen firefighters killed and the other two left seriously hurt responding to a house fire.

"It was heartbreaking. I was glued from the TV from the time I heard it at like one o' clock and then I came down here and I brought them a cookie tray and I cried a lot," said Kim Runnells, a Webster resident.

Firefighters Tomasz Kaczowka and Mike Chiapperini tragically lost their lives. Many who gathered Monday night were still in disbelief.

"I think it's going to take a few days for this to sink in. I don't think anybody can believe this tragedy would occur especially on Christmas Eve," said Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks.

Many knew Chiapperini as "Chip."

"Chip was a good friend. We laughed together and we cried together. We're going to miss him," said Guadagnino.

Guadagnino and Tracy Ruffell work for the Town of Webster and describe Chiapperini as a well known figure in the town.

"He was a very visible man. His presence was amazing. I think everybody knew him and even if you didn't know him by name you knew him," said Guadagnino.

"He was just a good man. He joked with everybody, laughed with everybody. He was a part of everybody and the community," Ruffell.

Several fire departments and first responders throughout Monroe County also showed their support and shared their grief.

"I just think as a community we want to show them not only do we know what happened, but we're here for them also," said Runnells.

During the vigil an official with the department came out to address the crowd to thank them for their support. He encouraged residents to go back to their families, this night before Christmas, and to quote, 'appreciate what you have.'

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