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Scores Turn Out to Say Good-Bye to Beloved Firefighter

Hundreds turned out to honor a man who spent a lifetime giving back.

Hearts were heavy in Southold on Monday as beloved firefighter Frank Locrotondo was laid to rest.

To honor his legacy, the Southold Fire Department hung a flag over the road on Main Bayview, outside of St. Patrick's Cemetery, where interment was held after a mass at 10 a.m. A long line of firetrucks, police cars, and cars belonging to friends and loved ones proceeded up the road in mournful silence before the burial.

Nearly 200 firemen attended the Firematic Service Sunday evening at the DeFriest-Grattan Funeral Home in Southold, in addition to many family friends and relatives.

"Frank was such an incredible man, and a terrific fireman," Southold Fire Department Captain Joe McCarthy said. 

Coming together in the Spirit of Brotherhood, Locrotondo's fellow firefighters honored one of their own during the service. 

Locrotondo, a 20-year veteran of the Southold Fire Department, died last Sunday after battling the greatest challenge of his life.

Locrotondo was faced with frontal lobe dementia, Southold Fire Department First Assistant Chief Peggy Killian said in an interview with Patch last year.

Locrotondo was Killian's long-time business partner at Eastern Tire in Cutchogue, as well as in the fire department; his illness has rendered him unable to work or to serve with his comrades fighting fires.

Over 800 turned out for a fundraiser held in August to help Locrotondo and his family, as scores reached out to a dear friend in need.

"Frank has always been the most cheery, nicest guy," Killian remembered. "He would drop everything to do something for anyone who needed anything. If he was called to a rescue at 3 a.m., he was there."

Locrotondo was beloved by his family, Killian said, including his wife Cindy — the couple, who moved to Southold in 1991, were teen sweethearts and started dating right after high school — four children and six grandchildren. "He would do anything for his kids," Killian said. 

Reflecting on the longtime friendship she shared with Locrotondo, Killian's voice filled with tears, leaving her speechless with sadness.

Locrotondo was a longtime training officer with the Southold Fire Department, had served as captain and had been through the ranks. He was also an EMS instructor for Suffolk County for 15 years. He was close to a well-deserved stint as chief when illness overtook him, Killian said.

"The fire department is his whole life. He's an awesome fireman, probably the best," she said last year.

"He never backed down, no matter what kind of call," Killian said.

Community member Susan Tyler remembered fondly how Locrotondo was one of those who showed up at 4:30 a.m. after she delivered her baby at home.

Locrotondo, who was born in Smithtown, was a history buff. "He swore in his former life he was in Gettysburg," Killian said, smiling through her tears. "He knew more about the fire department than people who've been there for nearly 100 years," she said. "He has always been so happy and upbeat. He'd do anything for anyone."





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