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FDNY Firefighter William Tolley dies after fall from burning Queens building

Mayor Bill de Blasio and FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro are expected to speak on the tragedy Thursday tonight.
firefighter dies William Tolley Queens fire
William Tolley, a 14-year veteran of the FDNY, died in the line of duty during a fire in Queens. Photo: provided

A New York city firefighter died Thursday afternoon after falling five stories from a burning Queens apartment building, Mayor Bill de Blasio said at an emotional press conference.

William Tolley, a 14-year vet, was pronounced dead after falling from the roof of 1615 Putnam Ave., near Wyckoff Avenue in the Ridgewood area of Queens. De Blasio said he spoke to the 42-year-old's wife, Marie, his brother, Bobby, and his parents. Tolley also leaves behind an 8-year-old daughter, Isabella.

The firefighter fell just after 2:20 p.m., while moving from an FDNY bucket to the building roof.

“It sounded like an explosion when he fell,” Angie Cordero, who lives across the street, told the New York Daily News. “People from above could see the blood from his head. A worker nearby got sick when he saw it.”

De Blasio and FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro went to Wyckoff Heights Medical Center, the hospital where the firefighter was taken in cardiac arrest, and late pronounced dead. Both were visibly shaken while updating the press on Thursday evening.

Three people were also taken to Wyckoff for minor injuries.

An FDNY spokeswoman said the fire was called in just before 2:20 p.m. and was under control by 3 p.m. 

The death came just hours after the FDNY held a ceremony honoring Deputy Chief Michael Fahy, who died in an explosion at a marijunana grow house in the Bronx in September. Fahy, whose name was added to the FDNY memorial wall, was the last firefighter to die in the line of duty before Tolley.

 
 
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