Incense left burning in an apartment in Ridgewood led to the death of 42-year-old Firefighter William Tolley, who fell off the roof of a five-story residential building, FDNY officials said Friday.
Tolley, a 14-year veteran of the Fire Department, died battling a two-alarm blaze that broke out about 2:30 p.m. Thursday in a one-bedroom apartment on the second floor of the building at 16-15 Putnam Ave.
Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said.
The residents of the apartment where the incense was burning as part of religious rites, were not at home when the blaze started, officials said.
Tolley, a member of Ladder 135 Firehouse 286 in Glendale, had gone to the roof to vent the fumes from the fire when he tumbled out of the fire truck bucket and sustained critical injuries, Nigro said at a news conference Thursday. Tolley died at Wyckoff Hospital.
Other firefighters were on the roof when the accident occurred.
Fire marshals were investigating the circumstances surrounding the accident and what may have happened to the bucket. The ladder was still in place several hours after the incident. Tolley’s Scott Pack was still lying on the sidewalk at that time.
The fire was brought under control by about 3 p.m., the commissioner said. The fire was contained in one room. Three people were injured in the fire but none seriously, he said.
Nigro said the blaze was not considered suspicious.
Tolley, who lived in Bethpage, L.I., leaves behind a wife and an 8-year-old daughter.
Funeral arrangements were planned for Thursday at St. Martin of Tours Church in Bethpage, Newsday reported. A memorial service was scheduled outside the Glendale firehouse Friday evening.