Hundreds of friends, family and colleagues showed up at a wake on Long Island for FDNY firefighter Billy Tolley, the 14-year veteran killed on the job last week.
"We're finding out that he meant a lot to more than just his family. He volunteered with Make-a-Wish, with Wounded Warriors," Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro told reporters. "He was part of our ceremonial unit. He'd be standing out here in the rain at any other funeral."
In the days following Thursday's tragedy, the loss has been acknowledged with bunting outside Tolley's firehouse, Ladder 135, and with moving tributes by those who knew him best.
"Bella and I and our entire family are trying to get through this together," Tolley's widow Marie said outside the firehouse Monday after the Stephen Siller Tunnels to Tower Foundation announced it would pay off the mortgage of her family home. "We want to thank you from the bottoms of our hearts."
"I know Billy would be so grateful and proud because he loved this job," Tolley said in tears, alongside their 8-year-old daughter Bella, who was wearing her dad's badge.
Investigators are still trying to determine what caused Tolley to fall to his death. Tolley, who was a 14-year veteran of the FDNY, fell five stories during a fire in Queens last week.
Calling hours will continue Wednesday, and Tolley's funeral service will be held Thursday at St. Martin of Tours in Bethpage.