Hundreds of firefighters in dress blues braved cold temperatures and piercing winds in Brooklyn Thursday to honor the FDNY’s Steven Pollard, who fell to his death off a bridge Sunday while trying to assist auto accident victims.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro and other city officials joined the small army of New York’s Bravest who waited on a line that snaked more than hundred yards down a residential street to honor Pollard at the Marine Park Funeral Home.
Pollard, 30, is the 1,151st member of the FDNY to die in the line of duty.
“He was a great kid to have under our command,” Pollard’s superior officer, Capt. Jimmy Quinn of Ladder Company 170 in Canarsie, Brooklyn, said just outside the funeral home. “He had such a passion for the job.”
Quinn said officials from the New York Rangers said they would honor Pollard — a passionate fan of the NHL team — at Thursday’s game against the Islanders. The Mets will also dedicate a game to Pollard later this season, Quinn said.
A funeral Mass will take place at 11:30 a.m. Friday at Good Shepherd Church, 1950 Batchelder St., Brooklyn. Nigro and de Blasio are scheduled to give eulogies, along with other speakers, according to the FDNY.
Pollard, who just finished his probationary period with FDNY, died from multiple blunt impact injuries after he fell about 52 feet through a two-foot gap separating the eastbound and westbound sections of the Mill Basin Bridge on the Belt Parkway in Brooklyn. Nigro said Pollard fell while trying to cross over the gap to assist victims of a two-car accident.
Pollard’s death was ruled accidental by the medical examiner's office, but the accident and the entire response and operations of Ladder Company 170 remains under investigation, according to the department spokesman. State occupational safety and health officials also said they were investigating.
Pollard came from a tightknit firefighter family, FDNY officials have said. His father, Ray Pollard, is a retired firefighter who served in the FDNY for 31 years. His brother, Ray Jr., is an 11-year veteran of the department based in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.
Quinn said Pollard’s family has been “unbelievably strong” since his death.
During the State of the City address Thursday, de Blasio said: “Steven gave his life responding to an emergency on the Belt Parkway just days ago. He comes from a family that loves this city so much. Generation after generation has served us in the FDNY. That family is now in our prayers and in our hearts.”
Purple and American flag bunting hung on a fence, along with pictures of Pollard, at the Katherine R. Snyder School, a public elementary school near the funeral home.
One resident of East 31st Street in Brooklyn offered pastries, juice and water to the firefighters as they waited in the cold to enter the Marine Park Funeral Home. The man, who declined to give his name, said he did it “to thank the City of New York firefighters who protect us.”
“This is a tragedy for everyone in New York City,” the man said.