Centennial Celebration
Fallen Firefighter's Wife Gives Tearful Kiss Goodbye

NY Post - April 21, 2017

by Paul Martinka and Chris Perez

Scores of New York’s Bravest stood shoulder-to-shoulder — saluting the FDNY veteran who fell to his death while battling a blaze — as his body was carried out of a Brooklyn hospital on Thursday night.

Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro and Chief of Department James Leonard led the procession at Wyckoff Heights Medical Center at around 8:45 p.m., while five members of William Tolley’s ladder company carried his casket.

The 42-year-old’s distraught wife, Marie, gave him one last goodbye kiss — putting her right hand to her lips and blowing it to him — just as Tolley’s body passed her by.

Firefighters lined the hospital’s loading dock while the 14-year veteran was carried about 100 steps to an ambulance. His body was then transported to the medical examiner’s office.

Tolley’s fellow smokeeaters were seen hugging each other and wiping away tears as the ambulance carrying him pulled out of the parking lot. His wife, who was still visibly shaken, was consoled by family members as it drove away.

Tolley died Thursday after falling from a ladder bucket. He had been responding to a routine call of an apartment fire at around 2:30 p.m. when he somehow lost his balance and fell.

Members of his company, Ladder 135, were spotted arriving back at their firehouse following the hospital procession.

“They are all grieving in their way,” FDNY chaplain Joseph Kunkel told The Post as the firefighters went inside.

“They are gathering his gear and personal belongings,” he said.

Additional Reporting by Elizabeth Rosner