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Goodbye to Bravest: Boro lays firefighter who fatally fell from Mill Basin Bridge to rest

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Photo gallery

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In memory: A firefighter presents Pollard’s family and his girlfriend Brianna with the late hero’s helmet.
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Paying respect: New York’s Bravest lined Bachtelder Street at Avenue S to honor their fallen brother.
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Team pride: The Department also honored Pollard as a dedicated fan of the New York Rangers. The hockey team’s Twitter account also called for a moment of silence in honor of him.
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Sky-high procession: Choppers from the Boys in Blue accompanied the motorcade that brought Pollard’s remains from Marine Park to Green-Wood Cemetery.

It was a Kings send-off.

Thousands of mourners gathered on Friday to say goodbye to one of New York’s Bravest, who died on duty after falling from the new Mill Basin Bridge days before.

Mourners packed the pews at Marine Park’s Good Shepherd Church to pay their last respects to firefighter Steven Pollard of Canarsie’s Ladder Company 170, the Fire Department’s 1,151 member to make the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty and a true hero, according to his chief.

“Steven was everything we want in a firefighter: strong, smart, hard-working, dedicated, and above all else, brave,” Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said at the service.

Bravery was in 30-year-old Pollard’s blood, according to Nigro, who noted that the deceased followed in the footsteps of his dad, a retired 32-year veteran of Bedford-Stuyvesant’s Ladder Company 102, and his brother, a current 11-year member of Sunset Park’s Ladder Company 114, who both attended the funeral with Pollard’s grieving mother Janet and his girlfriend.

“No doubt, he had been preparing his entire life for this moment — to be a firefighter. He worked so hard for this career, to follow his father — and his brother — into the world’s greatest fire department,” Nigro said.

Pollard, who lived in Marine Park, took his fatal fall after he and his crew rushed to the scene of a two-car collision on the Belt Parkway near Floyd Bennett Field on Jan. 6 just after 10 pm.

He plummeted 52 feet after slipping through a three-foot gap in the bridge, which he tried to cross from its Bay Ridge–bound side in order to help victims injured in the crash on the span’s Queens-bound side — a heroic final act that ended his life far too soon, according to Mayor DeBlasio.

“What Steven Pollard saw was a fellow New Yorker, a fellow human being in a crumpled SUV out on the Belt Parkway. He did not hesitate. He saw someone in danger. He saw that someone needed help. He rushed forward and at that instant he gave his life,” Hizzoner said at the funeral.

And friends, family, and officials were not the only ones who grieved for Pollard — the athletes on his beloved hometown hockey squad, the New York Rangers, also expressed their condolences to the late firefighter’s loved ones.

“#NYR observe a moment of silence in honor of firefighter and Blueshirts fan Steven Pollard and his family, and to acknowledge all the men and women in uniform who put their lives on the line, each and every day,” the team Tweeted the day before the funeral service.

Following the ceremony, a motorcade featuring dozens of motorcycles, Police Department helicopters, Fire Department bag pipers, and Ladder 170’s truck — which carried Pollard’s flag-draped coffin — made its way to Green-Wood Cemetery, where the local hero was laid to rest.

Reach reporter Kevin Duggan at (718) 260–2511 or by e-mail at kduggan@schnepsmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @kduggan16.
Posted 12:00 am, January 15, 2019
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