Fire marshals: Fire that caused death of firefighter from LI caused by burning incense


New York City Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro announced Friday that fire marshals determined that incense left burning unattended in the bedroom of a second-floor apartment caused the fire where an FDNY firefighter from Bethpage died Thursday.  

Firefighter William Tolley, a 14-year veteran of Ladder 135, died after falling five stories at a fire in Ridgewood, Queens.

The FDNY is investigating if a mechanical issue with a ladder or bucket led to his death. Officials say the investigation will include an assessment of Ladder 135's apparatus for any operational or equipment issues.

Marshals also determined there were no working smoke alarms in the apartment, which caused a delay in its discovery.

Tolley, 42, lived with his wife and daughter in Bethpage. He also volunteered at the Bethpage firehouse since 2011. On Friday, flowers were placed next to Tolley's gear.

Before volunteering in Bethpage, he was a volunteer with the Hicksville Fire Department for 14 years.

Chris Pervelis was Tolley's best friend since they formed their metal band Internal Bleeding 25 years ago. Tolley was the drummer.

"Bill was the glue of the band," he told News 12 inside the band's studio. "He held it all together because he always knew what to say and how to make people laugh and make people think."

Band members say his true love was his wife and 8-year-old daughter, Bella.

The band released their latest song "Final Justice," a song they say Tolley was extremely proud and excited about.  

"We certainly won't stop now, this was his favorite thing. We're going to do it forever now in honor now in Billy," says bandmate Chris McCarthy.

Tolley's wake is scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday next week at Chapey and Son's Funeral Home in Bethpage.

Funeral services will be held at St. Martin of Tours in Bethpage at 11 a.m. Thursday.

The FDNY has also set up the William N. Tolley's Children's Education Fund, which will go toward supporting his daughter.

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