Syracuse (WSYR-TV) -- As the men of Syracuse station one suit up, their thoughts shift to the volunteers of Webster, who started their day the same way, gearing up to help a neighbor.
“They left their families, probably got out of a warm bed...rushed to the fire scene, some in their own cars and as you approach the scene, suddenly it is a war zone. I don't think that anyone in the firefighting profession is ever prepared for anything like that,” said Deputy Chief SFD, David Reeves.
Between calls, the Syracuse crew kept a close eye on the news, first alerts of a gunman and ultimately the deaths of two comrades. Strangers from the West connected like brothers, through a bond only they understand.
"I have a family myself. I think of my wife and my kids. Everyday it is my intent that myself and the guys that are on the rescue company and the squad company here and all throughout the fire department go home safe,” explained SFD Captain Dave Munski.
“I think for the short-term this is going to be in the back of a lot of people's minds, but you can't second guess yourself or change tactics that much to put the fire out based on where the best cover is from gunfire,” Deputy Chief Reeves said.
For Deputy Chief David Reeves, finding a lesson in this tragedy is difficult. Firefighters are used to rushing toward the unknown. They're familiar with danger, and far too often, they are faced with loss.
"I used to love bagpipe music and now I hate it. Every time we hear it, it is for one of our fallen and I hope that I never have to hear it again, but it looks like I will,” Deputy Fire Chief Reeves continued.
That sense of loss, particularly at this time of year is shared by many. A candlelight vigil has already been organized for tonight at the West Webster Fire Hall on Gravel Road. Another has been set up at Barry’s Old School Irish at the village’s four corners. Both will start at 7 p.m.