Monday, December 22, 2014

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Volunteer firefighters react to Webster shooting

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Buffalo: Volunteer firefighters react to Webster shooting
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Volunteer firefighters across the area are mourning the loss of two of their peers. They say the shootings in Webster reach much farther than that Monroe County community.

HAMBURG, N.Y. -- It takes extensive training to become a volunteer firefighter, but there's no class on how you react to the murder of your peers.

"It's just unfathomable to try to understand or try to comprehend what these folks are going through," John Wicka said.

The Lake View Fire Commissioner said he's been friends with one of West Webster's fire commissioners for a long time.

"It's got to be tearing his heart out right now, not only what happened, but when it happened, how it happened," he said.

Wicka's been a volunteer firefighter for four decades. But the shooting death of two colleagues in Webster will be on his mind next time he's on a call.

"Our thought process is to attack the immediate fire," he said. "You don't want to have to be dealing with these secondary thoughts because it takes away from our primary reason to be there."

"To prepare them to step off an engine or out of their chief's vehicle and be cut down by gunfire, you just can't prepare for that," Dan Neaverth Jr., the Erie County Emergency Services Commissioner, said.

Neaverth in Erie County said firefighters across the country will be affected by Monday's shootings.

"This is the time when fire departments all come together and pay tribute to the heroes that these individuals were," he said

Meanwhile, Wicka is still deciding what he will say when he sees his friend.

"What can you say?" he asked. "You reach out and give him a big hug and let him know we're here to help him." ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP