Grand Rapids Firefighters React To Webster Tragedy

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The firefighters working at the Chester Street Firehouse in Grand Rapids have to be ready to go anywhere at time.

In the middle of an interview with FOX 17 Monday night, the alarm in the station’s garage sounds.

Grand Rapids Fire Lt. Harold Elmore flashes a grin.

“See ya,” he laughs.

It’s just another day in the life for the crew stationed at the house. But there’s always the chance of the unthinkable every time firefighters head to a scene.

A fire was deliberately set at a home in Webster, NY early Monday morning. When crews got on seen, investigators say William Spengler, 62, opened fire, killing two West Webster firefighters and putting two others in the hospital.

“It’s another tragedy,” Elmore says. “It’s tragedy after tragedy. The fact that their firefighters is a little more personal. It’s our occupation and those are our brothers.”

“You can’t prepare for it,” GRFD equipment operator Todd Wright says. “How do you train for that? It’s scary.”

Melissa Zimmer’s husband Cody is stationed at Chester Street. Even after four years of being a firefighter’s wife, she’s never at ease.

“When he walks out the door, you really wonder,” she says, “but you just say a prayer and hope for the best.”

But has Melissa ever asked Cody to think about a desk job?

“No, never. What these guys do for the community…they’re heroes,” she says.

“You don’t ask them not to be a hero.”

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    • anonymous

      Fact one: The 9 days a month are 9- 24 hour shifts which a. Equals 51 hours a week b. takes them out of their own home, to take care of others for 24 hours. Fact two:last night at one station in a 24 hour shift, house fire, car crash, and multiple medical emergencys.(This is not even the busiest station) Not to mention the training they do daily, the business inspections, the hydrant checks… I could keep going…all this to ensure public saftey. So what they do in the down time to unwind from the things they see and do in a 24 hour shift is frankly up to them. They have to take care of themselves some how and if that means making a phone call home or touching base with someone to feel normal again after seeing a death etc….so be it1 They sure aren’t hurting anyone!

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