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Hundreds of Firefighters Expected at Chief Turcotte Memorial Services

The wake and funeral for former Hopelawn Fire Company Chief Bruce Turcotte is expected to draw hundreds of firemen and other EMS personnel from Woodbridge and the county.

Hundreds of firefighters and other personnel are expected to turn out for the wake and funeral of former Hopelawn Fire Company Chief Bruce Turcotte.

After setting out fire hoses, the at the scene of an arson fire in Menlo Park Terrace last week. The fire also claimed the life Robert Ness, the former homeowner who torched the house, a family home, because he was losing it in a foreclosure.

The wake will be held at at 531 New Brunswick Avenue in Fords. The viewing hours are today, January 23, from 7 pm to 9 pm, and Tuesday, January 24, from 2 pm to 4 pm and 7 pm to 9 pm. A funeral mass will be held Wednesday, January 25, at 10 am at Our Lady of Peace Roman Catholic Church at 26 Maple Avenue in Edison.

There will be a special Firefighter Wake Service at 7:30 pm on Tuesday, where the member companies of the Woodbridge Township Fire Officers Association will pay their respects to the former fire chief and his family. They will file into the funeral home and say a short prayer.

"With about 300 paid and volunteer firefighters just in the Woodbridge, never mind those throughout Middlesex County who interfaced regularly with Bruce, this will probably be an extremely large turn-out," said Captain Joe Heintjes.

On Wednesday morning, the Hopelawn, Keasbey, and Fords fire companies will gather at the funeral home and march with bagpipers and a horse drawn caisson to Our Lady of Peace Church, where the funeral mass will be held at 10 am.

"Both sides of the street will be lined with a 'sea of blue' of firefighters for the procession," Heintjes said. 

Following the mass, there will be the presentation on the church steps of the Chief's helmet to his son, Brian Turcotte. The playing of taps and a helicopter fly-over will follow, Heintjes said. 

From there, the township fire and EMS agencies will follow the procession to , at the intersection of Route 35 and Route 1 in Woodbridge.

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