Wearing their dress blues in the freezing cold, firefighters solemnly saluted the family of Steven Pollard before the wake for one of New York’s bravest began at the Marine Park Funeral Home.
Pollard was responding to a two-car accident late Sunday night on the Belt Parkway’s Mill Basin Bridge when he slipped through a 3-foot gap in the roadway and fell more than 50 feet.
“Steven just wanted to help people,” Department Commissioner Daniel Nigro said on Wednesday.
The 30-year-old had been with Ladder 170 in Canarsie for a year and a half and came from a family of firefighters, including his father and brother.
“It was his dream,” Company Captain Jimmy Quinn said. “It was like it was in his DNA.”
Timothy Cardinal Dolan was among those in attendance Wednesday to offer their support.
“Part of being a religious leader is to be with people in times of grief and the whole community grieves,” the city’s top-ranked Catholic said. “And you never get used to it.”
Pollard once was a crew member for JetBlue, where he worked alongside one of the victims from Sunday night’s crash.
“He risked his life in order to save mine and he ended up making the ultimate sacrifice,” Travis Simms told CBS2. “He’s definitely my hero. May he rest in peace.”
The airline was offering to fly firefighters who wish to attend Pollard’s funeral free of charge.
“We are honored to help now just as we have in the past. We have a long history of supporting public service professionals in our hometown of New York as well as the many other places JetBlue crew members live and work,” JetBlue said in a statement. “On behalf of all of us at JetBlue, including our JFK team who share fond memories of Steven Pollard, we extend our thanks to Firefighter Pollard for his service, and our sympathies to his friends and family.”
Steven’s father was described as a rock, consoling his son’s colleagues inside the funeral home as they came to pay their respects and honor one of their own.
Viewings will continue Thursday, from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m., before his funeral at Good Shepherd R.C. Church on Friday.