New York

‘True Hero': Thousands Mourn Firefighter Who Died Trying to Save Others

30-year-old Steven Pollard was with the FDNY for a year and a half; he came from a family of firefighters

What to Know

  • Steven Pollard, 30, died helping victims of a car crash on the Belt Parkway after he fell more than 50 feet off the Mill Basin overpass
  • He had only been with the FDNY for about a year and a half and came from a family of firefighters
  • Pollard is being remembered as a brave and dedicated hero who "just wanted to help people;" he's survived by his parents and brother

Thousands of colleagues, friends and family gathered Friday to remember the young firefighter who fell to his death from a bridge in Brooklyn while trying to reach victims of a car crash last weekend.

A wall of FDNY lined the street outside Good Shepherd Roman Catholic Church in Marine Park as a somber procession led Steven Pollard's flag-draped casket to the service. The crowd saluted Pollard's casket in silence as it was being taken inside while bagpipes played "Amazing Grace."

Pollard was assigned to Ladder Company 170 of the FDNY when he died Sunday on the Belt Parkway in Brooklyn. He was only 30 years old. 

Pollard was running toward two men injured in the crash when he slipped into a gap in the bridge and plunged about 50 feet to the concrete below.

Mayor Bill De Blasio eulogized Pollard on behalf "of a grieving city" and thanked the Pollard family for their heroism.

Pollard was the son of 31-year FDNY veteran Raymond Pollard. His brother, Ray Jr., is currently an FDNY firefighter and has been with Ladder Company 114 for 11 years. He is also survived by his mother.

"He was so proud to be a member of the FDNY," de Blasio said, adding Pollard believed in being of service to others.

The mayor made a call for the public to live with the "same love and commitment" as Pollard.

De Blasio said one of the men Pollard tried to safe was a corrections officer who Pollard previously worked with.

"I offer my deepest condolences to this good family, to all the members of the FDNY, to all who knew and loved Steven" de Blasio said.

FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro also eulogized Pollard.

"Steven was everything we want in a firefighter," Nigro said. "This young man was strong, smart, hardworking, dedicated and, above all, he was brave."

One of Pollard's Ladder 170 firefighter colleagues described him as "a true gentle giant" who was an exemplary firefighter and person. 

"We lost a true hero that night," he said.

Later during the service, Pollard's long-time friend reminisced about his love for family, hockey, friends and the FDNY.

A subsequent service is scheduled at the Green-Wood Cemetery Crematory Chapel in Brooklyn.

Firefighters teared up at wakes earlier this week as Pollard, who had been on the job for a year and a half, was remembered for his bravery and dedication. 

"As you can see it’s a tremendous outpouring of love for a wonderful young firefighter and his family," Nigro said. "Steven just wanted to help people."

Pollard is the 1,151st member of the FDNY to die in the line of duty.

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