BY JON CRONIN
Firefighter William Tolley, a nearly 14-year veteran of the FDNY, died on April 20 after he fell from a ladder bucket while battling a two-alarm fire in Ridgewood.
The city’s Fire Department announced that Tolley, 42, who was assigned to Glendale’s Ladder 135, had been transported to Wyckoff Heights Medical Center after the fall and succumbed to his injuries there.
He is survived by his wife, Marie, and daughter, Isabella. The FDNY noted that Tolley is the 1,147th firefighter “to make the supreme sacrifice while serving our city.”
Tolley started his career at Ladder 135 in December 2003. He was assigned to Jamaica’s Ladder 155 in March 2010 and returned to Ladder 135 in October 2011.
A memorial service was held at the firehouse, located at 66-44 Myrtle Ave. in Glendale, on Friday.
Black and blue ribbons were hung over the firehouse on Friday and “Amazing Grace” was played on Scottish bagpipes during the ceremony as Tolley’s fellow firefighters saluted in honor of their fallen brother and an emotionally shaken community filled the street.
The New York Police and Fire Widows’ and Children’s Benefit Fund, known as Answer the Call, announced that it would provide $25,000 to Tolley’s widow as well as an annual stipend.
The Tunnel to Tower Foundation, created in honor of Firefighter Stephen Siller, who died saving people in the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel on September 11, has committed to paying off the mortgage of the Tolley family’s Bethpage, Long Island, home. Donations can be made here: www.crowdrise.com/donate/project/tolley/tunnel2towers/0
Elected officials representing the community where Tolley worked praised the firefighter for his bravery.
“This is a truly heartbreaking loss for the New York City Fire Department and the Glendale community,” said Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Glendale). “The members of his firehouse will need our community’s support during this very difficult time. My prayers are with his family and the department.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio also released a statement regarding the fallen firefighter.
“We lost another hero today,” the mayor said. “A man dedicated to protecting others gave his life to this work and, like all members of the FDNY, understood every single day that he was putting his life on the line—but he did it willingly in the service of others.”
Daniel Nigro, the city’s fire commissioner, said that Tolley’s death was especially tragic, considering that it occurred just one month after the death of emergency medical technician Yadira Arroyo, of EMS Station 26.
“It is a terrible tragedy for a department that’s certainly known more than its share of tragedies,” Nigro said. “It’s a terrible tragedy for the department, especially on the heels, one month after the death, of EMT Yadi Arroyo.”