Funeral services were held Sunday for West Webster firefighter and past Chief Mike Chiapperini, killed in the line of duty on Christmas Eve. Thousands from across the country gathered at Webster Schroeder High School to say goodbye and pay their respects to Chiapperini, a lieutenant with and public information officer for the Webster police department. Casey Bortnick has more.
WEBSTER, N.Y. -- A Western New York firefighter killed in the line of duty was laid to rest following an emotional ceremony.
Funeral services were held Sunday for West Webster firefighter and past Chief Mike Chiapperini. He was one of two firefighters shot and killed Christmas Eve.
Thousands of fellow emergency responders from across the country came out to pay their respects this weekend.
Lieutenant Chiapperini, or "Chip" as he was called, was remembered as a husband, a father, a "born first responder" and a hero.
"I'm gonna miss having instant access to his advice," Sgt. Dennis Kohlmeier said.
"The days of mourning will be few when compared to the many years of happy times that we had with him," said Dane Erich, Chiapperini’s brother-in-law.
The other firefighter who was killed, Tomasz Kaczowka, will be laid to rest Monday morning.
Mike Chiapperini's service to the community included his role as a West Webster firefighter and a Webster police officer. Chiefs from both departments spoke at his funeral.
"Today as we who are lucky enough to have been Michael Chiappareni's friends, the honorable life that he led,” said Webster Police Chief Gerald Pickering.
"He was a mentor to me for so many years and he was always there when I needed help with anything. Our department was forced to go through some major tragedies and Mike was by my side through all of the events every time. He was always there to answer his phone, give me advice on how to handle things and or just listen to me when I needed to get things out," said West Webster Fire District Chief James Deisenroth.
Chiapperini was a volunteer firefighter for a quarter of a century. He served as a Webster police officer for 19 years, rising through the ranks as a dispatcher, investigator, sergeant, then lieutenant.