A handwritten sign says, ‘‘Thanks for protecting us, RIP.’’ Two candles were lit to honor the dead.
Grieving firefighters declined to talk to reporters. At an impromptu memorial vigil Monday evening, about 100 people stood in the cold night air, some holding candles. A fire department spokesman made a brief appearance, thanked them all and told them to go home and appreciate their families.
Cathy Bartlett was there with her teenage son, who was good friends with Kaczowka. Bartlett’s husband, Mark Bartlett, has been a firefighter there for 25 years but missed the call this morning.
‘‘Thank God my husband slept through the first alarm and didn’t get up until the second one went off,’’ she said.
The shooting and fires were in a neighborhood of seasonal and year-round homes set close together across the road from the lakeshore. The area is popular with recreational boaters but is normally quiet this time of year.
‘‘We have very few calls for service in that location,’’ Pickering said. ‘‘Webster is a tremendous community. We are a safe community, and to have a tragedy befall us like this is just horrendous.’’
O'Flynn lamented the violence, which comes on the heels of other shootings including the massacre of 20 students and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
‘‘It’s sad to see that this is becoming more commonplace in communities across the nation,’’ O'Flynn said.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the State Police and Office of Emergency Management were working with local authorities.
‘‘Volunteer firefighters and police officers were injured and two were taken from us as they once again answered the call of duty,’’ Cuomo said in a statement. ‘‘We as the community of New York mourn their loss as now two more families must spend the holidays without their loved ones.’’
Webster, a middle-class suburb, now is the scene of violence linked to house fires for two Decembers in a row.
Last Dec. 7, authorities say, a 15-year-old boy doused his home with gasoline and set it ablaze, killing his father and two brothers, 16 and 12. His mother and 13-year-old sister escaped with injuries. He is being prosecuted as an adult.
Associated Press writers Chris Carola, George Walsh and Mary Esch in Albany contributed to this report.