Benjamin Carroll

Widow of Fallen FDNY Firefighter Gets Help to Pay Off Mortgage

The family of the FDNY firefighter who was killed battling a house fire last week in Queens has the support of the city and a charity in helping to pay the family's debts.

The Stephen Siller Tunnels to Tower Foundation announced on Monday that they intend to pay off the mortgage of the late William Tolley's family home on Long Island.

"It alleviates something. Lifts a burden from them," Siller said. "It's a small gesture and just brings them peace of mind."

Speaking publicly for the first time, Marie Tolley says that she is grateful for the foundation's support and for the support of the FDNY.

William Tolley, 42, was killed battling a fire in Queens, officials said. Checkey Beckford and Wale Aliyu report.

"Bella and I and our entire family are trying to get through this together," Tolley said. "We want to thank you from the bottoms of our hearts."

Siller started the charity after his brother, Stephen, was killed on September 11. The organization has donated three million dollars in the last three years to help families of those who have died in public service. 

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.

"I know Billy would be so grateful and proud because he loved this job," Tolley said.

A wake for Tolley will be held Tuesday in Bethpage at 7 p.m.

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