Wake to be held for Watertown firefighter who died battling house fire

A wake is planned for Tuesday afternoon in honor of Watertown Firefighter Joseph Toscano, who died last week after he collapsed while battling a two-alarm fire on Merrifield Avenue.

Visiting hours are set for 4 to 8 p.m. at St. Mary Catholic Church in Randolph, where Toscano, a married father of five
, worshipped with his family. Firefighters are scheduled to participate in a walk-by outside the church at 3 p.m.


At least one lane of North Main Street between Cottage and School streets will be closed beginning at 2 p.m., Randolph police said.

Toscano, 54, was in a room where fire was burning at 29 Merrifield Ave. when he was stricken by a medical emergency, officials have said. Authorities haven’t disclosed a cause for the blaze, but have described it as accidental.

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It is unclear what caused Toscano to collapse. He became a Watertown firefighter in 1996 and acted as the assistant to Deputy Fire Chief Bob Quinn for the last 12 years, officials have said.

Toscano was regarded as one of the best cooks in the firehouse and his home in Randolph stood out because the firefighter built it himself.

Following the wake, Toscano’s body will remain inside the church, where firefighters are expected to stand watch all night, police said. His funeral Mass is scheduled for 11 a.m. Wednesday at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Watertown.


The funeral procession is planned to depart Randolph at 9 a.m., police said.

The Watertown church also hosted the funeral Mass for Boston Fire Lieutenant Edward Walsh Jr.
, who died with Firefighter Michael Kennedy while fighting a massive blaze on Beacon Street in the Back Bay on March 26, 2014.

The Rev. Ron Coyne, the former pastor at St. Mary, has said he plans to celebrate Toscano’s funeral Mass. Quinn and Toscano’s childhood friend, Marcus DeFlorimonte, are expected to deliver remarks, said Rob Mannix, president of Watertown Firefighters, Local 1347.

Auxiliary Bishop Robert P. Reed of Boston plans to attend on behalf of Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley, who will be in Rome on Vatican business, according to a spokesman for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston.

A charitable fund has been established on behalf of Toscano’s family, a Boston Fire Department spokesman said. Donations should be directed to the Watertown Firefighters Relief Association/Toscano Fund at 99 Main St., Watertown, MA 02472.

Laura Crimaldi can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @lauracrimaldi.

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