Memorials Grow for Fallen Firefighter in NYC and on Long Island Where He Lived

WABC - April 21, 2017

by Tim Fleischer

Long Island (WABC) -- There is a growing memorial outside Ladder 135 honoring fallen firefighter William Tolley.

Tolley, 42, was a career firefighter in many ways. Remembered as a 14-year veteran of the FDNY, he was also a volunteer firefighter on Long Island.

They honor his memory with a growing memorial outside his fire company.

"You felt comfortable around him. He always had a good attitude, just a great, great guy," said David Prine, resident.

Tributes to Tolley extended to Long Island -- where he lived and served as a volunteer firefighter with the Bethpage Fire Department.

Bunting hung on the firehouse and flags have been lowered to half staff. He started as a junior firefighter in Bethpage before becoming a lieutenant in the Hicksville Fire Department.

Tolley also played the drums in the Long Island metal band Internal Bleeding in his free time. The band called Tolley on its Facebook page, "their supplier of insane laughter."

In his Nassau County neighborhood in Bethpage, police were stationed outside his home.

Other neighbors like Jack Rewkowski whose uncle was with the FDNY shared in their grief.

"It just makes me sad. It really does. It's a shame because when you have people like that who are willing to do that for a living, to protect us basically, we need more people like that," Rewkowski said.

Support from the FDNY is also helping this firefighter's family.

"Certainly our hearts are primarily with William's wife Marie, with his daughter Isabella, with his mom and dad, his brother, and with the members of Ladder 135 and Engine 286 who lost a dear colleague, a dear brother, in a moment," said Commissioner Daniel Nigro, FDNY.

The FDNY shared the tragic news on social media sites.

Many others responded including John: "Very, very sad day, what a great guy always welcomed myself and my partner in the fire house."

Patty posted: "May he rest in peace! And love and strength to his family and the entire @fdny brotherhood."

A statement from the Uniformed firefighter's Association president said: "His death is a grim reminder of the dangerous work New York City firefighters do on behalf of our city every single day and FF Tolley's sacrifice today will never be forgotten."

Tolley was also a volunteer firefighter with the Bethpage Fire Department and assigned to Ladder Company 3. Bunting was hung on the fire house and the flags were lowered to half-staff there in his honor.

It was there that he started his fire service as a junior firefighter.