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The Holidays are supposed to be a time of joy, but Christmas Eve was likely the most harrowing day of volunteer firefighter Theodore Scardino's life.
Shortly after responding to what seemed like a fairly typical Rochester house fire, the wounded hero found himself tucked away behind his firetruck for cover, slowly bleeding out of what he described as "mortal wounds," hoping EMS could treat him before he suffered the same fate as his two deceased colleagues.
This happened because 62-year-old arsonist and murderer William Spengler set an early morning blaze and waited patiently with his rifle to kill the first responders in cold-blood.
After the gunfight, Theodore surveyed the scene as he spoke to dispatchers on the radio. His friends Michael Chiapperini and Tomasz Kaczowka were already shot dead.
"Be advised I am struck in the lower leg, knee area, and the lower left back… I am in the danger zone right now. I need EMS or I'm going to be joining them."
The dispatcher, unsure of whether the crazed gunman was still firing on responders, couldn't yet send medical assistance.
He could only reply:
"Brother, hang tight."
As it turns out, the gunman was already dead and the rescue team was able to get to Theodore and another critically injured fireman in time to save their lives.
Still, we cannot begin to imagine living through such a terrible ordeal.
Our thoughts well-wishes continue to remain with the victims and their families as we enter this new year.
[Image via AP Images.]