Two firefighters who survived ambush are grateful for support

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WEBSTER, N.Y. (AP) — Two firefighters wounded by a gunman who set his house ablaze and killed two colleagues in an ambush were on the mend Wednesday and said they were thankful for the support they’ve received.

Investigators are trying to confirm if a body found in the house was his sister, Cheryl Spengler.

West Webster volunteer firefighters Joseph Hofstetter and Theodore Scardino were upgraded to satisfactory condition Wednesday at Rochester’s Strong Memorial Hospital, which released a statement from them saying they were “humbled and a bit overwhelmed by the outpouring of well wishes for us and our families.”

The firefighters said their “thoughts and prayers” were with the families of colleagues Michael Chiapperini and Tomasz Kaczowka, killed by William Spengler Jr., 62, a convicted felon barred from having guns.

Spengler spent 17 years in prison for beating his grandmother to death with a hammer in 1980.

Spengler set a car on fire and an “inferno” in his home on Lake Ontario, took up a sniper’s position and shot firefighters at 5:30 a.m. on Christmas Eve.

Spengler traded rifle fire with a Webster police officer and then killed himself with a gunshot to the head.

Investigators found a letter laying out Spengler’s intention to “do what I like doing best, killing people.”

The Spengler siblings had lived in the home with their mother, Arline Spengler, who died in October. In all, seven houses were destroyed by the flames.

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