Watertown’s new Fire Chief said he will continue the tradition of his predecessors and work to make the department progressive and well trained while ensuring members of the department are safe and healthy. He also remembered a pair of recently lost members of the Watertown Fire Department.
Robert “Bob” Quinn officially became the Chief of the Watertown Fire Department Thursday afternoon, after being sworn in in front of a packed room in the Watertown Library’s Watertown Savings Bank Room.
After being introduced by Town Manager Michael Driscoll and taking the oath from Town Clerk John Flynn, Quinn said: “It is certainly a very proud moment in my career becoming chief of this great Department. I look forward to serving the citizens of Watertown in this role.”
Quinn thanked members, current and past, of the Watertown Fire Department. He said he looks forward to leading the WFD.
“Your health, welfare and safety will be my top priority, always. I want you all to have a long safe and healthy careers,” Quinn said. “I consider it an honor and a privilege to be the Watertown Fire Chief, and I will do my best to rise your expectations. I hope your career can be as rewarding fulfilling and gratifying as mine has been.”
Sitting in the front row during the ceremony was Quinn’s family, his wife Eileen and children Becky, Bobby and Bridget, along with his mother Pat and sister Sheila Kieran. He thanked his family for their support over the years.
“I know I would not be where I am today without them,” Quinn said. “I cannot thank you guys enough for what you have done for me. I love you all so much.”
Quinn added that Thursday would have been his parents 60th wedding anniversary.
Quinn took the Fire Exam at the encouragement of his brother-in-law Joe Bullard, now a retired Fire Lieutenant form the Brookline Fire Department. By becoming a firefighter, Quinn also continued a family tradition of serving the people of Watertown. His father was a Watertown Police officer, as were two of his mother’s brothers. Both of his grandfathers worked for the Town, and his great-grandfather, Patrick Quinn, worked for the Department of Public Works for 50 years. He noted that the flag pole in front the DPW facility is dedicated in his honor.
“I am a proud fourth generation Town of Watertown employee,” Quinn said.
Quinn thanked the Fire Chiefs he worked under during his 31 year career: Paul McCaffrey, Anthony Gianotti, Mario Orangio.
“I want to continue the tradition that all these chiefs stood for, and work hard to keep the department well trained, progressive, safe and always at the top of its game,” Quinn said.
McCaffrey and Gianotti attended the swearing in ceremony.
He remembered two people who he worked with and who died in the last couple years: Orangio and Firefighter Joseph Toscano.
“Chief Orangio left us way to soon. It is still hard to believe that he’s gone. I walk into the office every day hoping to see him sitting there with his perpetual smile,” Quinn said. “His positive attitude was infectious, and something to be admired and copied. We all miss him.”
Toscano served as Quinn’s aide during most of the 14 years he worked as deputy fire chief.
“My good friend Joe Toscano was another person who left us way too soon,” Quinn said. “He was everyone’s friend at the Fire Station. He loved life, firefighting and his family. We should all try to emulate his great personality which made him the great person he was.”
The two fallen firefighters’ wives — Sandra Orangio and Maureen Toscano — were in attendance for the ceremony.
Having endured the loss of two of their own, the past 22 months been tough for the Watertown Fire Department, Quinn said.
“Each and every member has displayed great fortitude as we have moved forward from some of our most arduous times,” Quinn said. “These times have brought us closer as we have worked our way through it all.”