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2 Rochester-area firefighters killed at scene of fire

9:22 AM, Dec 24, 2012   |    comments
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WEBSTER, N.Y. -- At least two Webster firefighters are dead, and three houses on Lake Road continue to burn after one or more gunmen open fired on firefighters who responded to an early morning fire, officials said.

Two other firefighters are in guarded condition at Strong Memorial Hospital with gunshot wounds, according to a hospital spokeswoman.

There are no active shooters at the scene, according to a news conference held at 9:40 a.m. by Sheriff Patrick O'Flynn.

The fire broke out at 5:45 a.m. at 191 Lake Road on the Irondequoit Bay side of the street.

Webster Police Chief Gerald Pickering said shots were fired at West Webster firefighters when they arrived on the scene. Four firefighters were hit, two fatally.

"I'm not aware of anything like this happening in Webster, obviously not a firefighter being fired upon," Webster Fire Marshal Rob Boutillier said.

One firefighter who was shot managed to get away from the scene and over the outlet bridge to his car.

Authorities are on the scene evacuating residents. Residents are being evacuated from the Webster side of the bay to the Irondequoit side. They are being searched by New York state police and other authorities before being taken to a Regional Transit Service bus.

Webster resident Michael Damico was among those neighbors who were evacuated.

"The whole strip's been evacuated," Damico said. "They're evacuating all of the houses and going through them."

Damico's son woke him up around 8 a.m. to tell him about the fire that was burning down the street.

"We looked out the window and we saw the SWAT team and everyone around," he said.

"Some people on this bus already watched their houses burn," Damico said. "They're not happy."

U.S. border patrol and New York state police are hovering in helicopters as firefighters wait for the scene to be cleared so that they can resume fighting the fires, which have destroyed the three homes.

There is no information whether the homes that are on fire were occupied.

Boutillier advised that residents who feel safe in their homes could stay, but advised them to stay away from windows and doors. A SWAT team is also on the scene escorting residents to RTS buses that are taking them out of the neighborhood.

Roads, including part of Culver Road and a section of Lake Road, including the outlet bridge, have been closed.

Police have set up a staging area for media on Bay Road in Webster as part of the investigation.

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

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