by: Christine McCarthy Updated:
WATERTOWN, Mass. - A 54-year-old Watertown firefighter died Friday, after collapsing during a call on Merrifield avenue.
But just minutes before the second floor of that home was engulfed, the quick actions of a passerby helped another man safely evacuate.
Belmont 911 dispatcher Dave Jones had been driving in Watertown with his wife Friday morning when they noticed the first signs of a house fire nearby.
“All of a sudden, the smoke turned black and we looked at each other and said, 'that's not good,’” Jones told FOX25.
Before the fire department had arrived, Jones, following one Watertown Police Officer on scene, rushed into the Merrifield Avenue House and helped the elderly homeowner safely evacuate. The powerful moments were captured by jones's wife and shared on social media.
“He walked and I just kind of held onto him to push him along a little bit,” Jones said.
The fire department quickly pulled up and the Joneses soon left, but they'd later learn beloved Watertown firefighter Joe Toscano had died after collapsing while battling that very fire.
“They're the ones that put their lives on the line every day to go into the buildings,” Jones said.
While his deed reflects the spirit of the tight-knit community in the wake of unthinkable tragedy, he's uncomfortable with all the messages, the thanks and the attention he's received.
“Five children without a father right now and an elderly man without a house so, the focus, I believe, should be on that -- not me,” said Jones.
He’s the son of a firefighter and said he appreciates the sacrifice of those who put on their gear each day, prepared for the worst.
“Natural instinct isn't to run into a burning building. So, I mean those are special people that do that,” he Jones said.
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