FDNY firefighter dies after five-story fall during Queens blaze

A veteran fireghter on a routine call inexplicably fell five stories to his death Thursday afternoon from the roof of a burning Queens apartment building.

Firefighter William Tolley, a 14-year FDNY veteran, was pronounced dead at the Wyckoff Heights Medical Center shortly after the 2:40 p.m. plunge, said Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro.

“It was a routine operation, and somehow he fell from the roof,” said Nigro at a grim hospital news conference. “It is a terrible tragedy for a department that has known more than its share of tragedy.”

Firefighter William Tolley died Wednesday while battling a blaze in Queens when he fell off a roof.

Firefighter William Tolley died Wednesday while battling a blaze in Queens when he fell off a roof.


Tolley, 42, left behind wife Marie and their 8-year-old daughter Bella. The death was under investigation by the FDNY.

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A visibly-shaken Mayor de Blasio arrived at the Wyckoff Heights Medical Center emergency room around 4:25 p.m., saying nothing as he ducked inside.

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The firefighter suffered serious injuries after plunging from the building on Putnam Ave. near Wyckoff Ave. in Ridgewood just after 2:20 p.m., according to the FDNY.

(Todd Maisel/New York Daily News)

The firefighter was brought to the medical center in cardiac arrest from the Putnam Ave. building in Ridgewood, sources said.

“It sounded like an explosion when he fell,” said witness Angie Cordero, 43, who lives across the street. “People from above could see the blood from his head. A worker nearby got sick when he saw it.”

Tolley was a 14-year veteran of the FDNY.

Tolley was a 14-year veteran of the FDNY.


The firefighter was apparently moving from an FDNY bucket to the roof when he took a misstep and fell, according to the eyewitness.

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A source described the fire as a minor blaze that firefighters would typically put down without any risks.

The dead FDNY member “fell off the roof and died for nothing,” the source told the Daily News.

Paramedics on the scene rushed the firefighter to the Queens hospital.

The two-alarm fire started on the second floor of the 25-apartment building, the FDNY said. Three civilians suffered minor injuries and were taken to Wyckoff Hospital.

More than 100 firefighters responded to the blaze, which was still burning as of 3:15 p.m., the FDNY said.

The line of duty death came just hours after the FDNY held a ceremony honoring Deputy Chief Michael Fahy.

Fahy, killed by a Sept. 27, 2016, explosion at a marijuana grow house in the Bronx, was added to the list of names on the department’s Memorial Wall.


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