A Queens firefighter fell five stories to his death while fighting a fire on Thursday, according to FDNY sources.
42-year-old firefighter and Internal Bleeding drummer William “Billy” Tolley was on the roof-level of the five-story building when his truck’s ladder bounced, causing Tolley to fall from the bucket’s unsecured door.
“He [Tolley] signaled something to the guy who was controlling the ladder and the guy moved it. The bucket door was open, and as you see, the ladder bounced and he fell out,” said Mayer Weber, a witness on the scene.
Firefighters screamed “Billy!” as they crowded Tolley’s lifeless body.
Others saw the incident as well, an image that will haunt them forever.
“One of them was controlling the ladder and the other was in the basket. I was in my apartment looking out the window and then all of a sudden I saw him fall,” said neighbor Angie Cordero, 43. “I ran inside screaming hysterically asking for help. I didn’t want to look down.”
While Tolley was the only fatality, there were three civilians injured in the blaze.
According to the New York Post, Tolley was also a drummer for Internal Bleeding, who was about to release another album and go on tour with Hatebreed.
In a 2013 interview, Tolley described the brotherhood that firefighters share.
“When I am not working I also watch my 4 year old at home. I am a family guy,” Tolley explained. “My job and my family are awesome. My guys work with me, when I need time off for a show they step up and fill in for me at work. No other job in the world can compare to what I do. Everyone is very supportive and understanding.”
A 14-year veteran of the FDNY, Tolley leaves behind a family, both biological and fraternal.