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LODD: FDNY firefighter dies after falling off bridge

Steven Pollard was responding to a vehicle crash when he slipped through a gap in the roadway and fell 52 feet

Duty Death: Steven Pollard - [New York City, New York]

Today at 8:42 AM

ORIGINAL REPORT By John Annese , Rikki Reyna and Thomas Tracy
New York Daily News

NEW YORK — A city firefighter died after plummeting from a Belt Parkway bridge in Brooklyn on Sunday night, sources said.

Firefighter Steven Pollard, 30, who had 1½ years on the job, was responding to a two-car crash on the eastbound side of the Mill Basin Bridge at around 10:20 p.m.

One of the cars had flipped over, and one of the cars — it wasn’t clear which — contained two men who were seriously hurt, said FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro.

On his way to rescue the men, Pollard — a member of Canarsie-based Ladder 170 — tried to get from the westbound side of the highway to the accident scene in the eastbound lanes, said sources.

But he was unable to clear a gap between the two sides of the bridge, which was recently rebuilt.

“Firefighter Pollard slipped through the gap in the roadway and fell to the ground approximately 52 feet,” said Nigro.

Medics rushed Pollard to Kings County Hospital with a serious head injury, officials said. He was declared dead at the hospital.

Mayor de Blasio arrived at the hospital shortly after midnight, and spoke later at a news conference.

“It’s a very sad night here in our city," the mayor said. "This is particularly painful because we’ve lost a young man serving our city as a firefighter."

“He was trying to do such a good and important thing and it’s just really painful to see him as we did in the hospital room," the mayor said.

Nigro called Pollard’s death “a terrible loss for the department.”

“He was just at the beginning of his career,” Nigro said. “As his family mourns him, the department mourns him.”

Pollard comes from a firefighting family. His father, Ray Pollard, retired from the FDNY in 2016. His brother, Ray Pollard Jr., is currently with the department.

Ray Pollard Sr. made the news in 2008 when a new safety rope saved his life by allowing him to safely escape from the top floor of a burning house in Brooklyn.

The last firefighter death in the city was March 22, when firefighter Michael Davidson of Manhattan Engine 69 died battling a blaze in Harlem on the site of a movie shoot by Hollywood actor Ed Norton’s company.

Copyright 2019 New York Daily News


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We all face danger, injury and death on every call so it is a fact that every possible precaution be taken before we act. The fact that he was attempting to save the lives of others is no justification for not taking the proper steps to ensure his own life.

The extra step needed that would have saved this Fireman's life was absent and it cost the community a "Good Man". He had to jump to reach the victims, but he did not have to do that without first putting on a safety harness tethered to the rig or bull-work of the bridge.

No matter what you feel your fellow Firefighters may be saying behind your back or how desperate the situation may seem to you for the victims, wear the proper PPE of every kind.

In this case the victims were left still in danger and we lost our Brother too because of the absence of this piece of equipment which would have saved him.

We are useless if we can not survive the attempt to save others. So please take every precaution and extra minute needed to prepare properly because the life you save may be your own.

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Comment by Lieutenant Frederick Georges on January 7, 2019 at 9:10pm

Being "first" to arrive on scene or to act is never the safest way to approach an incident or the victims if it causes you lose your life, department equipment or worse, you injure or kill others in the attempt.

We can not save everyone sometimes, and we can not save anyone if we fail to save ourselves.

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