About 100 Toronto firefighters have travelled to upstate New York today to pay respect to two colleagues who were shot and killed while battling a deliberately set blaze.

Michael Chiapperini and Tomasz Kaczowka died in a hail of bullets while responding to a call in the Rochester suburb of Webster on Christmas Eve.

Chiapperini, 43, will be laid to rest Sunday afternoon at a local high school while the funeral for Kaczowka, 19, is scheduled for Monday.

The contingent of Toronto firefighters is expected to attend both services.

“When something like this happens, where there is a terrible loss of life, funerals are just something that we do,” Capt. Mike Ogle of Toronto Fire Services told CP24 Sunday morning. “You are going to see a huge contingent of firefighters there and there will be quite a few from Canada.”

Police allege that William Spengler deliberately set his house ablaze, and then opened fire on first responders before turning the gun on himself.

Two other firefighters were also wounded in the ordeal, but are reportedly recovering from their injuries.

Speaking with CP24 before departing for Webster on Sunday, Ogle said it is important for Toronto firefighters to pay respect to their fallen colleagues.

“It is just something that we do and something that we have always done,” he said. “These firefighters from our association are heading down on their own time, plus quite a few members of our pipe band.”

Several Toronto firefighters developed a relationship with the volunteer fire department in Webster after stopping at the Webster fire hall while on a motorcycle trip in upstate New York this past summer.

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