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Above, Greece, New York police officer John Ritter speaks about the tragic events on Monday that left West Webster FD members Mike Chiapperini and Tomasz Kaczowka dead and wounded Theodore Scardino and Joseph Hofstetter.
Ritter said the four firefighters who were shot were the true heroes.
“There’s no way to defend an ambush,” Ritter said. “I’m full of mixed emotions of being here and others not being here.”
Ritter said he did not have a weapon on him and his focus was taking cover and preventing others from entering the “kill zone.”
He suffered a fragment blast to his arm and was hospitalized and released Monday.
The injured firefighters continue to make progress and issued a statement today.
“We wish to thank the community — and the nation — for the heartwarming response to Monday’s tragic incident,” West Webster firefighters Joseph Hofstetter and Theodore Scardino wrote in a statement issued by Strong Memorial Hospital. “We are humbled and a bit overwhelmed by the outpouring of well wishes for us and our families.”
Firefighter Scardino (l) and Firefighter Hofstetter.
Dr. Nicole Stassen said in a statement that both men are making small steps and are doing “as well as I would expect at this stage.” Today’s plan, she said, is to begin physical therapy, and update their conditions to satisfactory.
There is some good news coming out of the University of Rochester Medical Center regarding the status of the two firefighters who were injured during Monday’s tragedy in Webster.
Dr. Nicole Stassen, who has been caring for both firefighters, says both Ted Scardino and Joseph Hofstetter are doing well that she upgraded their status from guarded condition to satisfactory condition Wednesday afternoon. She says the doctors are hoping to get both of them out of bed Wednesday to begin physical therapy.
Full statement from Firefighters Scardino and Hofstetter:
We wish to thank the community, and the nation for the heartwarming response to Monday’s tragic incident. We deeply appreciate your compassion and support as we focus on recovering from our physical wounds. We are humbled and a bit overwhelmed by the outpouring of well wishes for us and our families. We are in good hands and want everyone to know that even though we are able to accept only close family visitors, we are so very grateful for your prayers. Like so many others, our thoughts and prayers are with the families of Michael Chiapperini and Tomasz Kaczowka, and with those who lost their homes. Please consider directing any acts of kindness toward others in the community who also need your compassion during this holiday season.
Calling hours for both Lt. Mike Chiapperini and Tomasz Kaczowka will be held at Webster Schroeder High School on Ridge Road from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday and from noon to 3 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday.
The funeral service for Chiapperini, will be held at the high school at noon Sunday. He will be buried, with honors, in West Webster Cemetery.
A funeral Mass for Kaczowka, will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Monday at St. Stanislaus church on Hudson Ave in Rochester. Interment will follow at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Rochester.
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