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Tearful Firefighters Gather for Funeral of Fallen Colleague Joseph Toscano

A funeral mass for Joseph Toscano was held Wednesday morning at Saint Patrick’s Catholic Church in Watertown

A beloved Massachusetts firefighter who died while battling a blaze last week was laid to rest on Wednesday.

Watertown Firefighter Joseph Toscano's body was driven to the church on the back of a fire truck - a vehicle he spent his life working on - as his wife and five children looked on.

Highway signs around Boston conveyed a simple message before Wednesday's service: "Rest in Peace Firefighter Joseph A. Toscano."

His body was carried into St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Watertown as more than 1,000 firefighters and other public servants lined up in rows to pay respects to one of their own.

Inside the church, family, friends and fellow firefighters packed the pews. The Toscano family's long-time priest from St. Mary's Parish in Randolph gave the homily, talking about how welcoming Joseph was and how devoted he was to his family.

His friends and his daughter gave the eulogies.

"Walking into that hospital is a scene I keep playing over and over in my head," daughter Alyssa Toscano said. "My lifelong fear as a fireman's daughter came true. I always feared this day would come, but I never thought it would become my reality. I'm now living my worst nightmare.

"We will miss him so much every day, but we know that he will be watching over us and will be in our hearts forever."

Toscano, 54, a 20-year veteran of the Watertown Fire Department, died while fighting a 2-alarm fire in Watertown, Massachusetts on Friday. City officials say he collapsed from an apparent heart attack.

Fire department colleagues remembered him as a talented cook and a devoted family man.

"He never had a bad word to say about anybody," Watertown Deputy Fire Chief Robert Quinn said. "He was a true renassance man. He made me a better deputy fire chief. I was fortunate to have him by my side."

The Watertown Firefighters Relief Association has set up a fund to benefit the Toscano family. Donations can be sent to the following address:

Watertown Firefighters Relief Association, Toscano Fund, 99 Main St., Watertown, Massachusetts 02472

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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