Thousands attend funeral for Marine Park firefighter killed in bridge fall
Nearly 10,000 firefighters and other rescue workers attended the funeral for FDNY Firefighter Steven Pollard, who lost his life when he fell from a Brooklyn bridge, at Good Shepherd Church in Marine Park on Jan. 11.
The line of firefighters and rescuers stretched from Gerritsen Avenue to East 27th Street in Sheepshead Bay.
“Steven was everything we want in a firefighter,” FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said on Friday as he delivered the eulogy in the Avenue S church. “This young man was strong, smart and hardworking. Bravery was in his blood.”
A giant TV screen displayed the 30-year-old’s photo and allowed the thousands who couldn’t get into the intimate church the opportunity to watch and listen as those inside spoke about the life of the colleague some firefighters called “the quiet man.”
NYPD motorcycles, bagpipers and emergency vehicles led Pollard’s coffin, which was carried on a slow-moving FDNY fire truck, as FDNY Pipes and Drums played. The bagpipers played “Amazing Grace” as Pollard’s coffin was lowered from the truck and brought into the church. They were followed by his family, led by Pollard’s father Ray Sr., a retired firefighter, and brother Ray Jr., who is now a firefighter.
Mayor Bill de Blasio told the standing-room-only crowd he would “stand forever” with his family.
“This good young man — so young — his life cut off, far too short. But what is not lost is his legacy. What is not lost is his example,” de Blasio said. “When I look at this good family, I’m reminded what it takes for people to make that choice to serve: It takes faith, it takes a love for your fellow human, it takes a sense that you’re not alone . . . I just want to say we are blessed that this family is part of this community.”
Also speaking at the church were fellow Firefighter Timothy Klein, who called Pollard a “man of few words,” as well as Pollard’s long-time friend William Morch.
After Taps and a helicopter flyover by NYPD Aviation, the long procession was led by the firetruck carrying Pollard’s casket. It also included another firetruck with flower arrangements, one of which was made in the design of Rangers logo, and a long line of family vehicles and NYPD highway motorcycles. They all drove to Green-Wood Cemetery’s Crematory Chapel.
Pollard was on the job for less than two years when he fell in between the east and westbound lanes of the newly completed Mill Basin Bridge on the Belt Parkway Sunday night, plunging more than 50 feet to the ground below. He and his fellow firefighters were there to help victims in a two-car crash on the Belt Parkway – a common occurrence at the location.
Pollard came from a family of firefighters: His father is retired from Bedford-Stuyvesant’s Ladder Company 102, and his brother is an active member at Sunset Park’s Ladder Company 114. He is the 1,151st member of the FDNY to die in the line of duty.