Hundreds of New Yorkers honored the life of Canarsie firefighter Timothy Klein at the 31-year-old’s wake on Thursday afternoon.
The line of family, friends, fellow firefighters and supporters wrapped twice around the block outside McManus Funeral Home in Flatlands as mourners paid their respects to Klein, a six-year veteran of the New York City Fire Department who was killed in a three-alarm house fire on Sunday.
“Everything you hear about Tim Klein was he was the best firefighter, the best son, the best brother, the kind of guy everybody relied on,” said acting FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanagh. “His absence leaves a real hole in our hearts and certainly his family’s.”
A resident of Breezy Point, Queens, Klein followed in his father Patrick’s footsteps when he signed up to become a firefighter in 2015.
“The Klein family set the standard for service,” said family friend Bow Haley at the wake. “Firefighters have to work every day to put their lives on the line.”
When he wasn’t at the firehouse, Klein was often working with the Fight for Firefighters Foundation, a nonprofit a nonprofit dedicated to raising money for and building ramps and other accessibility equipment for disabled first responders.
“Timmy was on the board of The Fight for Firefighters Foundation,” said FDNY Lieutenant John Vaeth, in a statement. “He was at every build, he was always up to help people. Timmy was our go to guy. He helped with fundraising, building, and so much of the behind the scenes work that goes into running a foundation. This not only a tremendous loss for the FDNY, but a big loss for our Foundation.”
The nonprofit FDNY Foundation has created the Firefighter Timothy Klein Fund, which will collect money for two projects that were close to Klein’s heart: The FDNY Fire Family Transport Foundation and The Fight for Firefighters Foundation.
“Tim was beloved at the firehouse,” said Acting Chief of Department John Hodges. “We also lost a young resident at the fire. This is a tough time for the firehouse. We will make sure that Tim does not die in vain. We will provide training for the firefighters so this never happens again — this won’t happen again.”
Sunday’s blaze also took the life of 21-year-old Carlos Richards, a resident of the home that caught fire. Richards’ family is raising money to pay for his funeral and help get his mother back on her feet after her home was destroyed.
“He was a very big part of our firehouse, he was very dependable at a fire,” said Lt. Robert Kittelberger, who oversaw Klein at Ladder Company 170. “This has been heartbreaking for us. We are going to stick together and get through the next couple of days and take care of each other.”
Klein’s cousin, Keith, also an FDNY firefighter, said Klein “had a positive impact on every person that he met,” in post on the department’s Instagram account.
“Timmy leaves behind his parents who adored him, three younger sisters who idolized him, a beautiful girlfriend who is devastated, and countless aunts, uncles, cousins and childhood friends,” Keith continued. “It is quite a loss inside and outside of the firehouse.”
A second service will be held at the funeral home on Thursday evening from 6 to 8pm. Klein will be buried on Friday morning at the Church of St. Francis DeSales in Belle Harbor.