5-storey fall kills fire­fighter in Queens

Times Colonist - - Canada / World -

NEW YORK — A New York City fire­fighter died Thurs­day af­ter fall­ing five storeys while bat­tling a fire in Queens, of­fi­cials said.

Wil­liam Tol­ley, 42, was on the roof of the apart­ment build­ing dur­ing a fire that started in a sec­ond floor apart­ment just be­fore 2:30 p.m. ET, when he fell, ac­cord­ing to Fire Com­mis­sioner Daniel Ni­gro.

Tol­ley was taken to a hospi­tal where he died. Three other peo­ple suf­fered mi­nor in­juries be­fore the blaze was brought un­der con­trol in less than an hour.

New York Mayor Bill de Bla­sio said the 14-year vet­eran leaves be­hind his wife, Marie, and a daugh­ter, Isabella, 8.

“A man ded­i­cated to pro­tect­ing others gave his life for this city,” de Bla­sio said. “Today he made the ul­ti­mate sac­ri­fice.”

It was too early to say what caused the fire­fighter to fall about 20 min­utes into the fire­fight. The cir­cum­stances re­mained un­der investigation.

“It was re­ally in the oper­a­tion that he was per­form­ing on the roof, which is a rou­tine oper­a­tion for us, and some­how he fell from the roof,” said Ni­gro, who called his death a “ter­ri­ble tragedy for the depart­ment.”

The fire was not con­sid­ered sus­pi­cious, Ni­gro said.

Angie Cordero, 43, told News­day she was watch­ing the fire from her house across the street when the fire­fighter fell.

“I was just look­ing at what was hap­pen­ing. All of the sud­den I heard a noise,” she said. “I just saw when the body came over. I started to scream.”

Cordero said she ran out of the house “pretty shaken up.”

“Just think­ing you see this in movies, not here. It didn’t feel real,” she said.

The last New York City fire­fighter to die in the line of duty hap­pened in Septem­ber, when an ex­plo­sion at a mar­i­juana grow house in the Bronx killed a fire-bat­tal­ion chief. Michael Fahy died af­ter be­ing hit by blast de­bris while re­spond­ing to a re­port of a gas leak.

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