Rochester, N.Y. – Firefighters often describe their co-workers as a brotherhood.
We've seen the strength of that bond over the past week and Monday was no exception.
The sun slowly came out, as first responders lined Hudson Avenue in Rochester.
“I haven't seen this since really 9/11,” said James Burge, a driver engineer with a South Florida fire department.
“For this young man that's just starting in the fire service it's totally amazing,” said firefighter Blake Mayo of Alfred Fire Department. “A 19-year-old young man to have 3,000 people standing here waiting to assist their family is unusual.”
A somber mood flooded the downtown street as Tomasz Kaczowka arrived.
“It's just heart wrenching that a 19-year-old man lost his life,” said retired Monroe County Sheriff Deputy David Staub.
And as the service ended, thousands took their place again to honor their fallen brother one last time.
“You know I didn't know him personally but I knew him,” said Dan McBride, retired captain with the Rochester City fire department. “I think anybody here would say the same thing. They knew him because they knew the sacrifice he made, and they knew the dreams that he had and they knew what his life was all about.”
“I don't even feel the cold because of the heaviness we feel in our hearts for the community and for our brothers,” said Brent Smith, a Firefighter from California.
First responders from around the world, one as far as Germany, were in Rochester Monday to pay their respects and show their support.