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William Spengler, who allegedly have lured two volunteer firefighters to their deaths in Webster, New York, left a long note outlining his plans, police say.

They told a news conference that the gunman, 62-year-old William Spengler, had three guns and aimed to burn down his neighborhood.

No motive was given but the note said he was planning to “do what I like doing best – killing people.”

The firefighters were shot dead as they arrived to tackle a fire on Monday.

Seven homes on a narrow stretch of land beside Lake Ontario were destroyed by the fire. Another two firemen and an off-duty police officer were wounded in the attack.

Police Chief Gerald Pickering told reporters that Spengler, who apparently shot himself in the head, had used a .38 calibre revolver, a 12-gauge shotgun and a Bushmaster .223 calibre rifle with flash suppression.

The same make and calibre rifle had been used in the murder of 26 teachers and children at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut on 14 December, he said.

The police chief told reporters in Webster that a two- to three-page note from the gunman had been found in which he said: “I still have to get ready to see how much of the neighborhood I can burn down and do what I like doing best – killing people.”

William Spengler had served 17 years in jail for killing his grandmother with a hammer but had done nothing to attract the authorities’ attention since being granted parole in 1998.

As a convicted criminal, he was not allowed to own weapons.

Police said he appeared to have set “a trap” by setting fire to his home. His older sister, Cheryl, whom he reportedly hated, is missing.

Two of the firefighters who responded to the call, Tomasz Kaczowka, 19, and Mike Chiapperini, aged 43, were shot dead in what was described as a “clear ambush” on emergency services.

Their two wounded colleagues are said to be in a stable condition with gunshot wounds.

William Spengler, who allegedly have lured two volunteer firefighters to their deaths in Webster, New York, left a long note outlining his plans

William Spengler, who allegedly have lured two volunteer firefighters to their deaths in Webster, New York, left a long note outlining his plans

The off-duty police officer, who was also shot and wounded as he came to their aid, was praised by the police chief for saving people’s lives.


Gerald Pickering cited “mental health issues” as a possible factor for the attack, which came months after the death of William Spengler’s mother.

The Newtown killer, Adam Lanza, killed his mother with her own guns before launching his attack on Sandy Hook elementary school in Connecticut.

His murders of 20 children aged six and seven have prompted a national debate on gun ownership and mental health.

“It’s sad to see that that this is becoming more commonplace in communities across the nation,” Monroe County Sheriff Patrick O’Flynn told AP news agency after the attack in New York state.

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Two volunteer firefighters have been shot dead and two injured while responding to an emergency call in the town of Webster in New York state.

It appears the four were fired upon as they arrived at the scene of a fire early on Monday morning.

The blaze broke out just before 06:00 local time and the shooting reportedly prevented firefighters putting it out for several hours.

A gunman has been found dead at the scene, local police say.

“Upon arrival of the first.. engine company and some firefighters in their personal vehicles, they underwent gunfire from a location unknown,” Webster’s Fire Marshal Rob Boutillier told reporters.

Police spokesmen said the area was “an active crime scene” but that no more shooters were believed to be present.

Police teams moved in to evacuate residents after the shooting, local media reports say.

Two volunteer firefighters have been shot dead and two injured while responding to an emergency call in the town of Webster in New York state

Two volunteer firefighters have been shot dead and two injured while responding to an emergency call in the town of Webster in New York state

Firefighters were then able to return to the scene and are now tackling the blaze.

“All of our thoughts and prayers go to the families and friends of those who were killed in this senseless act of violence,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a statement.

The debate on gun violence in the US was rekindled earlier this month by the shootings at a school in Newtown, Connecticut, which left 20 children and six adults dead at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

It was one of the worst mass shootings in American history.

President Barack Obama has promised to push for action on gun control while the National Rifle Association has called for armed security in all American schools.

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Police in Spain have fired rubber bullets to clear demonstrators in Madrid as a day of nationwide protests against spending cuts ended in unrest.

Protesters set alight rubbish bins as riot police charged them in the city centre, near the parliament building.

Seven people were arrested and at least six injured, officials said.

Earlier, tens of thousands of people held largely peaceful protests across Spain against the latest government austerity measures.

Public sector workers crowded the streets of Madrid, Barcelona and several other cities, chanting slogans against government “robbery”.

Tens of thousands of people held largely peaceful protests across Spain against the latest government austerity measures

Tens of thousands of people held largely peaceful protests across Spain against the latest government austerity measures (Photo: Reuters)

Among those protesting were firefighters and police officers, as well as health and education workers.

“We have lived through bad times, but this takes the biscuit,” fireman Francisco Vaquero, 58, told the Reuters news agency.

The new 65 billion-euro ($80 billion) package of public sector wage cuts and tax rises were announced last week by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.

He said it was part of a deal with eurozone leaders to help rescue Spain’s troubled banks. Parliament ratified the measures on Thursday.

Earlier in the day, Germany’s parliament voted in favor of the 100 billion-euro bailout for Spain’s debt-laden banking sector.

Government austerity measures aimed at cutting Spain’s large deficit have prompted frequent protests, including one by miners against subsidy cuts last week.

At a debt auction on Thursday, Spain managed to raise 2.98 billion euros on the financial markets, but at the cost of sharply higher interest rates compared to an auction last month.

 

 

Two of the biggest ever wildfires in the US have hit states of Colorado and New Mexico and hundreds of firefighters have joined efforts to tackle them.

The Colorado blaze shrouded the state capital, Denver, some 60 miles (100 km) away in smoke on Tuesday.

A woman has died in the blaze, which has burned about 43,000 acres (68 sq miles) and is still growing.

A huge fire is also burning in New Mexico – one of a total of 19 fires in nine drought-stricken western states.

The Larimer County Sheriff’s Office said on Monday that one person had died in Colorado, after investigators found remains in a home that had been burned in the fire.

Two of the biggest ever wildfires in the US have hit states of Colorado and New Mexico and hundreds of firefighters have joined efforts to tackle them

Two of the biggest ever wildfires in the US have hit states of Colorado and New Mexico and hundreds of firefighters have joined efforts to tackle them

Although the remains have not been conclusively identified, the family of Linda Steadman, 62, has issued a statement saying she died in a cabin that she loved.

They reported her missing after the fire started on Saturday, sheriff’s officials said.

President Barack Obama called the Colorado governor to offer federal personnel, equipment and emergency grants – but was unable to reach his New Mexico counterpart due to poor reception in the fire zone, the Associated Press reported.

The High Park Fire – as it has been dubbed – is still growing, with only 5% contained, reported a national incident information website.

The same website says 30% of the 36,000-acre (56-sq-mile) Little Bear Fire in New Mexico has been contained.

About 118 structures have been damaged or destroyed by the blaze in Colorado – believed to have been started by lightning – and hundreds of people were forced to evacuate, officials say.

Some 600 firefighters are on the scene and up to 200 more are expected.

Additional resources have had to be called in as state and federal authorities rushed to tackle the blaze.

The US Forest Service said on Monday it would contract one air tanker from Alaska and four from Canada to add to the aircraft already combating the fire. Two more air tankers were also being mobilized in California.

Five of the forest service’s 13 tankers have already been deployed to the scene, a spokesman said.

Congressmen from Colorado said in a letter to the forest service that the need for more aircraft was “dire”.

But incident commander Bill Hahnenberg told the Associated Press: “We are a very high priority nationally. We can get all the resources we want and need.”

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An Austrian crematorium officials have blamed a deceased woman’s obesity for causing a fire which had to be tackled by firefighters.

Graz firemen were covered in thick sticky soot as they tried to prevent the blaze from taking hold of the building.

The case has been widely reported in Austrian media, including in the ORT, and has ignited calls for a weight limit on bodies to protect against future fires.

Some countries such as Switzerland and the UK already have facilities which cater for extra large bodies, in line with the growing trend of expanding waistlines.

An expert report on the Austria fire has revealed that the woman being cremated weighed more than 200 kg – or 31st 7 lbs – and her size had caused the oven to overheat.

An Austrian crematorium officials have blamed a deceased woman's obesity for causing a fire which had to be tackled by firefighters

An Austrian crematorium officials have blamed a deceased woman's obesity for causing a fire which had to be tackled by firefighters

The press reports state that the filter temperature reached 300 C and officials realized there was a problem when thick black smoke started billowing into the building.

The device was immediately switched off but by then there was already a fire in the filter.

Firemen whose clothing was left covered with a layer of greasy black soot were snapped as they tackled the difficult to extinguish blaze in special breathing gear to avoid breathing in the fumes.

In the end they had to bring the fire under control by sending a blast of water in through the vents used to clear the filter. Repair work took several days during which time the crematorium was out of action.

Firemen said that after reports of similar problems at other cemeteries not only in Austria but also in Switzerland, officials were now are considering a ban on larger bodies.

Graz based fireman Otto Widetschek said: “Crematorium officials need to be more responsible and not just automatically put everybody in to be cremated.”

He said that in Switzerland there were moves now to make sure that XXL bodies were routinely shipped to a special crematorium able to deal with the extra heat caused by larger bodies.