Friends recall Patrick Wiley, one ‘tough’ Watertown firefighter

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Dec. 14—WATERTOWN — One of his oldest friends described retired Battalion Chief Patrick J. Wiley as the Watertown Fire Department’s version of Clint Eastwood and Cool Hand Luke all rolled up into one.

“He was a combination of both of them, that’s for sure,” said colleague and retired Capt. David Burns.

Mr. Wiley, who served with the fire department for 40 years, died on Wednesday. He was 70.

His death was a shock to the men he served with. Within the past two weeks, Mr. Wiley, a well-known contractor along the St. Lawrence River, boated to Carleton Island to work on a metal roof for the day.

Mr. Burns and Ed Brown, a retired battalion chief, described their friend as the fireman’s fireman. There wasn’t a thing he couldn’t do and didn’t do with the fire department.

He fought fires like Clint Eastwood’s “Man with No Name” character in the actor’s Spaghetti Westerns and looked at life like the war hero with an attitude, played by Paul Newman in the 1967 film, Cool Hand Luke.

“He was a tough guy,” Mr. Brown said. “The guys would follow him into any fire.”

And Fire Chief Matthew R. Timerman did. During Christmastime in 1999, Chief Timerman, then a firefighter, remembered how he helped Battalion Chief Wiley play a role in saving a couple from their burning house at 121 Flower Ave.

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