Thousands line Bethpage streets in tribute to fallen firefighter

BETHPAGE -

Thousands of firefighters lined the streets of Bethpage Thursday to honor the FDNY firefighter who died last week while battling a blaze in Queens.

There was a mile-long funeral procession for firefighter William Tolley, of Bethpage, outside St. Martin of Tours Roman Catholic Church during the morning service. 

Tolley, 41, fell five stories from the roof of the fire scene in Ridgewood. Investigators are still looking into what went wrong, and if Tolley was getting into the bucket of a ladder when he fell.

In the community, red ribbons could be found on homes and streets in honor of the Bethpage resident. 

"Those red ribbons will linger there for a while so he's not forgotten…he will never be forgotten by this community or the fire service," said Lt. Joe Minogue. 

In an emotional eulogy, fellow firefighter Jarrett Kotarski said that Tolley loved his job and talked about it all the time.

Tolley, who always wanted to be a firefighter, leaves behind his wife Marie and his 8-year old daughter Isabella. In a touching scene after the funeral, Tolley's young daughter was presented with her dad's cap and helmet.

The Tolley family says his remains will be cremated. In lieu of flowers, they ask that donations be made to the William Tolley Children's Educational Fund. The money will be used to pay for his daughter's education.
 

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