Bruce Turcotte joined the Hopelawn Engine Company #1 in February 1973 when he was just 20 years old. He was one of the youngest firemen in all of New Jersey at the time‚ because the state had just passed a law lowering the minimum age for firefighters from 21 to 18. Bruce quickly rose through the ranks of the department‚ serving as fire chief in 1983. During his tenure‚ he served in every line and executive officer position including company president. Bruce was also the fire company’s chaplain and historian‚ keeping meticulous records of every member that has walked through the doors of the department.
Bruce Turcotte served in many positions outside of the fire company. He was a life member of the New Jersey State Firemen’s Association. He was also the secretary of the United Firemen’s Relief Association of Fords‚ Keasbey‚ and Hopelawn. Firefighters throughout Woodbridge Township would find it hard to miss his presence at fires and other large emergencies‚ as he would assist the incident commander as a township mutual aid coordinator‚ and he was well known by many as MAC 3.
Bruce was often called ‘The Mayor’ because of the people he always seemed to know in some of the most unexpected remote locations. He had a presence about him that would make it easy for people to remember him. Maybe it was his size and stature. Or‚ maybe it was his (sometimes twisted) sense of humor. He would not hesitate to lend a hand to anybody in need.
On January 19‚ 2012‚ Bruce Turcotte responded with his son Brian‚ Hopelawn’s Assistant Chief‚ and the rest of their crew to a mutual aid house fire in the Iselin section of the township. They were to be assigned as the rapid intervention crew at the scene. It was during that deployment that Bruce became ill and was found unresponsive behind the wheel of Hopelawn’s rescue truck. This was Hopelawn’s first ever line-of-duty death in their 98-year history.
Bruce Turcotte is survived by his loving wife of 37 years‚ Janet; his two sons‚ Michael Turcotte and his wife‚ Rebecca‚ and Brian Turcotte and his wife‚ Nicole; and his daughter‚ Catherine‚ and her husband‚ Robert Keene. Bruce especially loved taking his family to Promised Land State Park in Pennsylvania and eventually bought a summer home at Eagle Lake in Gouldsboro‚ Pennsylvania. Despite having three kidney transplants‚ that never stopped him from serving his community and enjoying life. A park near Bruce’s childhood home has been renamed the Bruce A. Turcotte Memorial Park in his honor as a dedicated volunteer firefighter. He is sorely missed and will never be forgotten.