The girlfriend of a New York firefighter who died after falling 50ft from a highway bridge while responding to an accident has posted a touching tribute.
Brianna Torkel took to Facebook to honor Steven Pollard, who died while responding to a car crash in Brooklyn on Sunday.
‘To know you was to love you. My sweet angel I am so proud of you,’ she wrote.
‘You left this world a hero, something you were born to be.’
Brianne Torkel, the girlfriend of fallen New York firefighter Steven Pollard, has posted a touching tribute to him on social media
Torkel credited her boyfriend with lighting ‘a spark back in me that I thought was long gone’.
‘Thank you for loving me the way you did,’ she continued.
Pollard fell 52ft to his death on Sunday after slipping through a 3ft-wide gap between the lanes of the Mill Basin Bridge in Brooklyn
‘You were my safe place, my protector, my ball buster, my big idiot, and my absolute best friend. You were my home.’
Torkel said she was ‘so proud’ to have known Pollard, who fell while trying to cross a 3ft gap that separated the eastbound and westbound lanes of an overpass bridge.
‘Some people never get to experience the love we shared in a lifetime, and I was lucky enough to have it with the absolute greatest man I have ever and will ever know,’ she continued.
‘I have unfortunately gained the greatest angel I could ever ask for, the love of my life.’
‘Please watch over your parents, family, all the fellas down at the fire house and me, puppy. I love you so much. Rest in the sweetest peace.’
Pollard had been working as a firefighter for a year and a half and just finished his probationary period before his tragic death.
‘He was a good firefighter. He was on his way to be a great firefighter,’ FDNY Ladder 170 Captain Jimmy Quinn told
Torkel credited her boyfriend with lighting ‘a spark back in me that I thought was long gone’ and thanked him for ‘loving me the way you did’
Torkel said she was ‘so proud’ to have known Pollard and called him her ‘safe place’ and the ‘greatest man I will ever know’
‘He was going to be an anchor in the firehouse.’
Pollard was responding to a two-car accident on the Mill Basin Bridge at 10pm on Sunday when he fell to his death.
The bridge had originally been solid the whole way across, but was rebuilt in 2017 to include a 3ft wide gap between each side of the road.
He was pronounced dead at a Kings County Hospital.
In a tragic twist of coincidence, Pollard knew the man he was trying to help.
Pollard slipped while trying to cross this 3ft gap that separated the eastbound and westbound lanes of the Mill Basin overpass bridge
Travis Simms, now a city corrections officer, had worked with Pollard on the tarmac at John F Kennedy International Airport for JetBlue Airways before they went their separate ways.
‘He risked his life in order to save mine,’ said Simms. ‘He’s definitely my hero.’
Pollard is the 1,151st member of the FDNY to die in the line of duty.
He comes from a family of firefighters including his father Ray Pollard, who served 31 years in Brooklyn, and his brother Ray Pollard Jr, who has served 11 years in Brooklyn.
Pollard had been working as a firefighter for a year and a half and just finished his probationary period before his death. His coffin is seen here being taken to the Marine Park funeral home
FDNY members salute Pollard during his dignified transfer to the funeral home on Monday
‘This is a family who has done so much for New York City, and now they’re going through this loss and this pain,’ NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement.
‘It’s a very, very tough situation.’
The Uniformed Firefighters Association also released a statement honoring Pollard’s ‘massive impact in the Brooklyn community’.
‘Steven came from a line of firefighters who – time and time again – put their lives on the line to protect all New Yorkers,’ President Gerard Fitzgerald said in a statement.
‘Steven truly epitomized what it means to be one of New York’s Bravest, and will be dearly missed.’
Bunting is placed on the firehouse that Pollard worked at in Canarsie, Brooklyn on Monday
Pollard is the 1,151st member of the FDNY to die in the line of duty. He comes from a family of firefighters including his father and brother
Pollard’s funeral will be held on Friday. De Blasio and FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro will deliver eulogies.
JetBlue is offering free flights to any firefighter who wishes to attend.
‘We are honored to help now just as we have in the past. We have a long history of supporting public service professionals in our hometown of New York as well as the many other places JetBlue crewmembers live and work,’ JetBlue said in a statement.
‘On behalf of all of us at JetBlue, including our JFK team who share fond memories of Steven Pollard, we extend our thanks to Firefighter Pollard for his service, and our sympathies to his friends and family.’