Funeral held for fallen FDNY Firefighter Timothy Klein in Queens

'He's the kind of guy whose absence leaves a real hole in our hearts,' said the FDNY's acting commissioner

ByEyewitness News via WABC logo
Friday, April 29, 2022
Funeral held for FDNY Firefighter Timothy Klein
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Jim Dolan has more as family, friends and thousands of fellow firefighters gathered Friday to bid a final farewell to fallen FDNY Firefighter Timothy Klein.

BELLE HARBOR, Queens (WABC) -- Family, friends and thousands of fellow firefighters gathered Friday to bid a final farewell to fallen FDNY Firefighter Timothy Klein.

The funeral mass got underway shortly after noon at St. Francis de Sales Church in Belle Harbor, Queens.

"Canarsie will never be the same without you, T.K," fellow firefighter Vincent Geary told mourners. "But we will continue to get back on the trucks and do what you loved, knowing you are always with us."

Up to 20,000 people were in attendance, with a massive gathering of firefighters lining the streets outside the church.

It was solemn sight as Firefighter Klein's flag-draped casket arrived at the church.

"(He) accomplished so much in a short time, he had so much going on," Father William Sweeney, aka Father Bill, said. "In fact, he was supposed to be in a wedding party tomorrow, at a wedding of his dear friends, that is going to be right here in this church. And they are going to set up a memorial, in a very special way, to thank Timmy for all the things he did."

Klein, 31, died Sunday when flames engulfed the second floor of the home, causing part of the ceiling to collapse. One other person was killed in the blaze in Brooklyn's Canarsie neighborhood, and eight firefighters and a resident were hurt.

"The stories that have come out of the great work, you know, he would be embarrassed that we are all paying attention," Father Bill said. "He'd probably tell them to turn the picture around. He would never want all the attention, because he was somebody who would always stand in the background. But Timmy was the real deal. (Parents) Dee Dee and Pat, you did a great job. You raised a very very fine son who made a difference in a short time. We promise to be with you, now and forever. We will never forget."

Mayor Eric Adams also spoke, noting that Klein's retired firefighter father had survived the World Trade Center collapse only to lose his son.

"(The family was) the American Dream, knit together by people who put on a uniform and run towards harm and danger, put their lives on the lines, the possibility of never to come home again," he said. "Trust me, Tim would do it again."

RELATED | What we know about Timothy Klein, FDNY firefighter killed in the line of duty

Klein is being remembered for what he did both on and off duty.

"Tim's father was on the job," acting FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanagh said. "He also has a number of uncles and cousins on job active on the job...Everything you hear about Tim Klein is, 'He was the best firefighter, son, best brother.' He's the kind of guy whose absence leaves a real hole in our hearts and certainly in his family's."

Klein, a six-year FDNY veteran, was also a carpenter on the side and worked with a foundation called Fight for Firefighters.

In one example, Klein was instrumental in making life-changing adjustments to the Long Island home of a 12-year-old boy who has Cerebral Palsy.

"Tim made an impression on everybody he worked with, junior men who he trained and senior men who he impressed," Lieutenant Robert Kittelberger of Ladder Company 170 said at Klein's wake Thursday. "He was a very big part of our firehouse; he was very dependable at a fire. 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 worked at Ladder 170, which has now lost two firefighters in a span of three years.

In a tragic twist of fate, it was Timothy Klein who delivered the eulogy for firefighter Steven Pollard back in 2019.

Pollard was killed while responding to a car accident, and his family came to pray and offer condolences Thursday at Klein's wake.

ALSO READ | Fallen FDNY firefighter Timothy Klein mourned at pair of wakes


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