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

A rookie New York firefighter who plunged to his death off a highway bridge while rushing to rescue a man 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 January 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.

Fallen firefighter Steven Pollard’s casket is driven on his fire house truck through a roadway lined with thousands of firefighters, Friday Jan. 11, 2019, in New York. The 30-year-old was assigned to Ladder 170 of the Fire Department of New York when he was fatally injured last Sunday on Brooklyn’s Belt Parkway

Pollard's casket is driven on his fire house truck through a roadway lined with thousands of firefighters, Friday, Jan. 11, 2019, in New York

Pollard’s casket is driven on his fire house truck through a roadway lined with thousands of firefighters, Friday, Jan. 11, 2019, in New York

Pollard's casket is driven on his fire house truck through a roadway lined with thousands of firefighters, Friday Jan. 11, 2019, in New York

Pollard’s casket is driven on his fire house truck through a roadway lined with thousands of firefighters, Friday Jan. 11, 2019, in New York

Fallen firefighter Pollard's casket is driven on his fire house truck through a roadway lined with thousands of firefighters. Friends at the funeral described him as a soft-spoken but fearless man

Fallen firefighter Pollard’s casket is driven on his fire house truck through a roadway lined with thousands of firefighters. Friends at the funeral described him as a soft-spoken but fearless man

‘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 soft-spoken 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.

This undated photo provided by the New York City Fire Department shows firefighter Steven H. Pollard. A New York City firefighter responding to a car accident in Brooklyn fell from an overpass and died at a hospital

This undated photo provided by the New York City Fire Department shows firefighter Steven H. Pollard. A New York City firefighter responding to a car accident in Brooklyn fell from an overpass and died at a hospital

The casket of New York City fire department (FDNY) firefighter Steven Pollard of Ladder 170 leaves Good Shepherd church after his funeral service in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, New York on Friday

The casket of New York City fire department (FDNY) firefighter Steven Pollard of Ladder 170 leaves Good Shepherd church after his funeral service in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, New York on Friday

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 

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 

Firefighters salute for fallen firefighter Steven Pollard during his funeral service, Friday Jan. 11, 2019, in New York

Firefighters salute for fallen firefighter Steven Pollard during his funeral service, Friday Jan. 11, 2019, in New York

Firefighters stand in formation listening during funeral service for fallen firefighter Steven Pollard, Friday Jan. 11, 2019, in New York

Firefighters stand in formation listening during funeral service for fallen firefighter Steven Pollard, Friday Jan. 11, 2019, in New York

Pollard’s helmet was presented to his family.

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 in New York. The city has about 11,000 uniformed firefighters.

On Wednesday, hundreds of mourners gathered for Pollard’s wake. The tragedy rippled through New York City’s fire department, who are now mourning the loss.

Wednesday night marked the start of three days of services for Pollard. 

‘At a time when people are tempted to get cynical and wonder where our heroes are, where sacrifice and selflessness is, all you’ve got to do is think about Steven Pollard,’ said Cardinal Timothy Dolan.

A priest performs final rites over the casket of fallen firefighter Steven Pollard as it leaves Good Shepherd Roman Catholic Church, Friday Jan. 11, 2019, 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, Friday Jan. 11, 2019, in the Brooklyn borough of New York

Fallen firefighter Steven Pollard's casket is driven on his fire house truck through a roadway lined with thousands of firefighters, Friday, Jan. 11, 2019, in New York

Fallen firefighter Steven Pollard’s casket is driven on his fire house truck through a roadway lined with thousands of firefighters, Friday, Jan. 11, 2019, in New York

The casket of New York City fire department (FDNY) firefighter Steven Pollard of Ladder 170 leaves Good Shepherd church after his funeral service in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, New York, U.S., January 11, 2019

The casket of New York City fire department (FDNY) firefighter Steven Pollard of Ladder 170 leaves Good Shepherd church after his funeral service in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, New York, U.S., January 11, 2019

The funeral procession for New York City firefighter Steven Pollard is lead by an antique fire truck carrying the logo of his favorite hockey team, the New York Rangers, at the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic Church in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn on January 11, 2019

The funeral procession for New York City firefighter Steven Pollard is lead by an antique fire truck carrying the logo of his favorite hockey team, the New York Rangers, at the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic Church in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn on January 11, 2019

‘We all hope that when our loved ones go off to work each tour they come back safe,’ said FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said, according to ABC7. ‘But in the back of each family’s mind is the knowledge that they may not.’

The wake at Marine Park Funeral Home continued Thursday from 2 to 4pm and 7 to 9pm.

On Monday, an emotional bunting ceremony was held to honor Pollard.

Hundreds of FDNY officers, community members and loved ones gathered in Canarsie to honor 30-year-old probationary officer.

Pollard had been walking between the carriageways of the Mill Basin Bridge on Sunday when he tragically tumbled 52 feet through a 3 foot-wide gap that he attempted to climb over. He was trying to rescue Travis Simms, 30, who was trapped in his wrecked Ford Explorer.

The helmet of New York City fire department firefighter Steven Pollard of Ladder 170 is held as his casket is carried into Good Shepherd church in the Brooklyn borough of New York City on Friday

The helmet of New York City fire department firefighter Steven Pollard of Ladder 170 is held as his casket is carried into Good Shepherd church in the Brooklyn borough of New York City on Friday

A tear runs down the eye of a firefighter during the funeral for New York City fire department (FDNY) firefighter Steven Pollard of Ladder 170 in the Good Shepherd church in the Brooklyn borough of New York City on Friday

A tear runs down the eye of a firefighter during the funeral for New York City fire department (FDNY) firefighter Steven Pollard of Ladder 170 in the Good Shepherd church in the Brooklyn borough of New York City on Friday

The bridge, which was originally solid the whole way across, was recently rebuilt to include a gap between each side of the road.

The ceremony took place outside Ladder Company 170 in Canarsie, where the American flag hung from a ladder truck as ‘Amazing Grace’ played.

Pollard was remembered throughout the community Monday as a hard-working and ‘model’ firefighter.

Captain James Quinn said: ‘Steven Pollard came to us in November of 2017, out of probie school.

‘He was the model probie. Any job we gave him, he accomplished it. Any task we asked him to do, he did it well.

‘He was a good firefighter… he was on the way to being a great firefighter. He was going to become an anchor in the firehouse.’

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio also said Monday: ‘[Pollard] devoted his life to the people of our city, like his brother, like his dad, he was trying to do such a good and important thing, and it’s just really painful to see him as we did in the hospital.’

The late Pollard comes from a family of firefighters, including father Ray Pollard, of Ladder 102 in Brooklyn and his brother Ray Pollard Jr., who is an active member of Ladder Company 114.

He is also survived by his mother.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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