Firefighter takes fatal fall while battling Ridgewood blaze
by Patrick Kearns
Apr 20, 2017 | 2145 views | 0 0 comments | 71 71 recommendations | email to a friend | print
42-year-old William Tolley was killed when he fell five stories while battling a fire in Ridgewood.
42-year-old William Tolley was killed when he fell five stories while battling a fire in Ridgewood.
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Onlookers at the scene at 1615 Putnam where the fire broke out around 2:20 p.m.
Onlookers at the scene at 1615 Putnam where the fire broke out around 2:20 p.m.
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A firefighter fatally fell five stories while battling a blaze in Ridgewood on Thursday, April 20.

Ladder 135 and Engine 286 were called to battle a fire contained entirely in a second-floor apartment at 1615 Putnam Ave., at around 2:20 p.m., when 42-year-old William Tolley, a 14-year veteran, fell five stories.

He was stationed on the roof during the fire as the outdoor ventilation firefighter around where Ladder 135’s bucket was located.

FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro would not confirm the circumstances around the fall, but two eyewitnesses claimed to have seen him fall as he was trying to get in the bucket.

“It is a terrible tragedy for a department that’s known more than its share of tragedies,” Nigro said.

After the fall, Tolley was transported to Wyckoff Heights Medical Center in Brooklyn, where he succumbed to his injures.

Mayor Bill de Blasio called Tolley a, “man dedicated to protecting others.”

“He gave his life to this work,” de Blasio said. “Like all members of the FDNY he understood every day, he was putting his life on the line, but he did it willingly in service of others.”

According to de Blasio, Tolley leaves behind his wife Marie, an 8-year-old daughter Isabella, a brother and both his parents.

Jake Lemonda, president of the FDNY-Uniformed Fire Officers Association, offered condolences on behalf of the union.

“I join with all FDNY members in honoring the memory of our brother who unfortunately lost his life in the line of duty earlier today,” he said in a statement. “This is an extremely dangerous job that our dedicated members put their lives on the line everyday to protect the residents of the City of New York.”

One unnamed resident of the building where the fire broke out, said earlier in the day an inspector from the New York City Department of Buildings was in their apartment. She said the inspector noted that there was no fire alarm in their living room, but could not confirm if the landlord was issued a violation over it.

According to the Department of Buildings database, there are currently no open violations on the property.

The incident is under investigation.
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