By Tim Harfmann
Firefighters wheeled Steven Pollard’s casket down the aisle as family, friends and FDNY members packed the pews of Good Shepherd Church in Marine Park, Brooklyn. The 30-year-old was with the department a year-and-a-half and assigned to Ladder Company 170 in Canarsie. Pollard responded to a call over the Mill Basin Bridge along the Belt Parkway Sunday, trying to save two car-crash victims. But he fell through the gap between the lanes and plunged nearly 50 feet. He was pronounced dead at Kings County Hospital.
FDNY chaplain Monsignor John Delendick celebrated the Mass. Brooklyn Auxiliary Bishop Neil Tiedemann presided. Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said Pollard excelled in the academy and was everything the FDNY wants in a firefighter. “This young man was strong, smart, hard-working, dedicated and, above all, he was brave,” said Nigro.
Pollard is survived by his mother, Janet; father, retired firefighter Raymond Sr., who served for 32 years; and his brother, Raymond Jr., an 11-year veteran. Mayor Bill de Blasio sent his condolences on behalf of all New Yorkers. “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,” said de Blasio.
Pollard and his family are parishioners at Good Shepherd. Father Thomas Doyle is their pastor. “Steven has been baptized here, received his confirmation here, was involved in our faith formation program. From there, he went on to St. Edmund Prep High School,” said Father Doyle. Pollard graduated from Brooklyn’s St. Edmund Prep in 2006, where he played hockey. In a statement, the school’s principal Allison McGinnis wrote, “Steven’s selfless dedication to the city of New York exemplifies all that we hope our graduates to be as they fulfill the mission of St. Edmund Prep. We pray that Steven’s bravery will be an example for our students for generations to come.”
Firefighter Timothy Klein called Pollard a hero. “Steven Pollard died not thinking of himself, but trying to help others. We lost a true hero that night. Stevie, it breaks my heart to know the days working alongside you are over. Though your time as a fireman were short, the impact you made and the example you set will live on in the hearts of Canarsie forever,” said Firefighter Klein.
Pollard was the 1,151st member of the department to die in the line of duty. A service followed the Mass at Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery Crematory Chapel.