WEBSTER, N.Y. — Authorities say four firefighters were shot, two of them killed while responding to a house fire in western New York.
Officials in the town of Webster tell local media outlets that someone shot at firefighters around 6 a.m. Monday when they arrived at the scene of the blaze just east of Rochester.
The dead are Lt. Mike Chiapperini, 43, a volunteer firefighter and Webster Police Department’s public information officer, and firefighter Tomasz Kaczowka. Theodore Scardino and Joseph Hofsetter were also shot and are recovering in guarded condition at Strong Memorial Hospital.
Webster Police Chief Gerald Pickering told reporters that the shooter was killed by a gunshot. It’s unclear whether the shot was self-inflicted. Pickering said the firefighters were shot at when they pulled up to a house in the 100 block of Lake Road. One firefighter was able to flee the scene, while the other three were “pinned down at the location.” A SWAT team responded, rescued the firefighter who was alive and then engaged the suspect.
The crime scene is still active. No more details on the shootout are available.
Pickering spoke through tears as he described the violent scene, which appeared to be set up on purpose.
“It does appear that [the fire scene] was a trap that was set,” Pickering said in a press conference.
Police secured the area by 10 a.m. and firefighters started combating the blaze, which spread to at least three houses, according to the Democrat and Chronicle. It’s unclear whether any arrests have been made, or whether anyone was injured in the fires.
An off-duty Greece police officer driving nearby the was also injured by shrapnel. He was taken to the hospital.
SWAT teams on scene have reportedly been evacuating 33 nearby residents and taking them by armored vehicle out of the neighborhood.
The shooter has not been identified.