NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Firefighter Steven Pollard was laid to rest Friday, and mourned as a hero.
Watch The Complete Funeral Service
The 30-year-old fell to his death Sunday while responding to a crash on the Mill Basin Bridge in Brooklyn.
Fire officials said Pollard was trying to save the two people trapped in the wreckage of the crash when he slipped through a 3-foot gap and fell more than 50 feet.
Pollard’s funeral was held at Good Shepherd Church in Marine Park.
Thousands lined the streets in solemn tribute as his casket was brought to the church. An FDNY truck carried the casket from the funeral home to the church. Fellow firefighters lined up outside saluted the hero.
The church was full of family, friends and firefighters. The FDNY is promising to stand by his family today and in the days to come together as one family, CBS2’s Jenna DeAngelis reported.
“On behalf of a grieving city, we are all here to honor Firefighter Steven Pollard. And we are all here to say that we will stand forever with the Pollard family, this good family, this family of heroes who’ve given so much to our city,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “This family has always been there for the people of New York City, and we the people of New York City will always be there for them.”
De Blasio led mourners gathered at the service in an a heartfelt round of applause for the Pollard family.
“We feel this so sharply, this good young man, so young, his life cut off far too short. But what is not lost is his legacy. What is not lost is his example. What is not lost is the love he shared with so many others that they will carry in their hearts forever. Let us resolve to try in every way we can to be as good as him. To live with that same love and commitment that Steven did,” de Blasio said. “On behalf of 8.6 million New Yorkers, I offer my deepest condolences to this good family, to all the members of the FDNY, to all who knew and loved Steven. God bless you all.”
“Steven was everything we want in a firefighter. This young man was strong, smart, hard working, dedicated and above all, he was brave,” FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said. “He did what few can do: Achieving his childhood dream and protecting the people of Brooklyn. He saved others and he made our city a safer place. We will never forget Steven. We will honor him. We will remember all the good he did. And our department will always hold the entire Pollard family in our hearts.”
There were moments of levity as Pollard was fondly remembered by his colleague Firefighter Timothy Klein of Ladder 170.
“When it came to fire duty, Steve showed no fear. Now on the other hand, dressing as Santa Claus absolutely terrified him,” Klein joked. “He was the likely candidate to dress up as Santa Claus for a firehouse Christmas party [in 2017]. This would require Steve to have kids sit on his lap, hand them a toy, take pictures, possibly speak. Just hearing the possibility of this taking place made Steve sweat through the two t-shirts he was wearing. Guys would ask him to practice his ‘Ho-ho-ho.’ With a shrug of his shoulders, all Steve could muster out was ‘Ho.’ So, for the sake of the children, Steve was not Santa Claus that year. It was a tight squeeze into the costume, be we celebrated with him being an elf.”
An emotional Klein remembered the night when Pollard lost his life.
“I was with Steve the night he passed. Steven Pollard died not thinking of himself but trying to help others. We lost a true hero that night,” Klein said.
“I just want to send my love to the family of Steven Pollard, he was the firefighter who tragically died in Brooklyn this past week. I was out at the wake with Commissioner Nigro yesterday, the funeral is today. I met his dad and his family, and just as your listeners go through the day, they could just send thoughts and prayers to the family and all the brave men and women of the FDNY because they do a terrific job each and every day,” NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said during a radio interview Friday.
“I think he’s a hero,” said Ann Young of Marine Park. “He didn’t think twice. He saw people that needed help and he didn’t hesitate.”
For the past two days, heavy hearts filled a Brooklyn funeral home to remember the 30 year old. Hundreds lined up to pay their respects during his wake.
“It’s hitting close to home today. This is one of our own,” Ladder 170 Capt. Jimmy Quinn said Wednesday.
He will be remembered as a son, brother, friend and New York Rangers fan. The team honored him Thursday night with a moment of silence.
The Pollard family was built on bravery. His father dedicated more than three decades to the FDNY, and his brother is in his 11th year with the department. With just a year and a half on the job with Ladder 170, he had so much potential. His family is being presented with his Ladder 170 patch.
“It was his dream, it was in his DNA,” Quinn said.
“This family will always be a part of our family. I hope that knowledge comforts them, and I believe it does,” said Nigro.
Pollard was finally laid to rest at Green Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn.
Click here to share your condolence message with the Pollard family.