Fu­neral for NYC fire­fighter: ‘Brav­ery was in his blood’

Died while seeking to res­cue 2 men after a crash

Connecticut Post - - OBITUARIES/NEWS -

NEW YORK — A rookie New York fire­fighter who plunged to his death off a high­way bridge while rush­ing to res­cue two men trapped in an over­turned vehicle had brav­ery “in his blood,” Fire Com­mis­sioner Daniel Ni­gro said at his fu­neral Fri­day.

Be­fore the ser­vice for Steven Pol­lard, thou­sands of fire­fight­ers from the city and around the coun­try stood silently in dress uni­forms on a street of red brick homes near the Good Shep­herd Ro­man Catholic Church in Brook­lyn’s Ma­rine Park, where he was raised.

The re­mains of the 30-year-old, the son and brother of fire­fight­ers, ar­rived in a cas­ket atop a fire en­gine of Lad­der Com­pany 170 in the nearby Ca­nar­sie neigh­bor­hood, where he was as­signed.

Late Jan. 6, the com­pany re­sponded to an ac­ci­dent on Brook­lyn’s Belt Park­way. Work­ing in the dark on the cold, windy night, Pol­lard was run­ning to­ward the vehicle that had flipped over when he fell into a gap be­tween bridge spans and plunged about 50 feet.

“On Sun­day, what Steven Pol­lard saw was a fel­low New Yorker, a fel­low hu­man be­ing in a crum­pled SUV,” Mayor Bill de Bla­sio told mourn­ers. “He did not hes­i­tate; he saw some­one in dan­ger, some­one who needed help, and he rushed for­ward and that in­stant, gave his life.”

Friends at the fu­neral de­scribed him as a soft­spo­ken but fear­less man.

“When it came to fire duty, Steve showed no fear,” his col­league at Lad­der 170, Tim­o­thy Klein, said, adding jok­ingly. “Now, on the other hand, dress­ing as Santa Claus ab­so­lutely ter­ri­fied him.”

Klein said he was with Pol­lard the night he died, and “Steven Pol­lard died not think­ing of him­self but try­ing to help oth­ers.”

Pol­lard joined the Fire De­part­ment of New York only a year and a half ago and had just passed his FDNY pro­ba­tion “with fly­ing col­ors,” said Lad­der 170 Capt. Jimmy Quinn.

Pol­lard’s hel­met was pre­sented to his fam­ily.

For Pol­lard, the fire com­mis­sioner said, “brav­ery was in his blood”: His father, Ray­mond Pol­lard Sr., re­tired after 32 years in the FDNY, and his brother Ray­mond Pol­lard Jr., is still serv­ing after 11 years.

“This fam­ily will al­ways be a part of our fam­ily,” Ni­gro said.

Pol­lard was the 1,151st fire de­part­ment mem­ber to die in the line of duty. The city has about 11,000 uni­formed fire­fight­ers.

Be­beto Matthews / As­so­ci­ated Press

Fallen fire­fighter Steven Pol­lard’s cas­ket is car­ried out of Good Shep­herd Ro­man Catholic Church on Fri­day in the Brook­lyn bor­ough of New York.

A priest per­forms fi­nal rites over the cas­ket of fallen fire­fighter Steven Pol­lard as it leaves Good Shep­herd Ro­man Catholic Church in the Brook­lyn bor­ough of New York on Fri­day. The 30-year-old was as­signed to Lad­der 170 of the Fire De­part­ment of New York when he was fa­tally in­jured on Brook­lyn’s Belt Park­way.

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