Widow of fallen firefighter William Tolley speaks publicly for 1st time

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Fighting back tears, the widow of the New York City firefighter who died in the line of duty in Queens last week thanked the city for all of its support.

Marie Tolley spoke publicly for the first time, with her 8-year-old daughter Bella by her side.

Investigators continue to look into what went wrong that caused 14-year veteran William Tolley to fall five stories to his death in Ridgewood, while many are working to do whatever they can to help those left behind.

A large memorial for the 42-year-old at Ladder 135 continues to grow, and on Monday, the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation announced it will pay for the mortgage on the Tolley's home.

"We are here to announce that were going to pay off the mortgage for firefighter William Tolley's house, to make sure they never have to worry about it," Frank Siller said. "And when they lay their head down, that is one less burden, one less burden that they have to think about."

Marie Tolley expressed her gratitude for the gesture, and for the continued support from the FDNY and the city.

"We just want to say thank you from the bottom of our hearts," she said tearfully. "And to the firefighters here that worked with Billy, and everyone in the fire department that has been with us every second. I know Billy would be so grateful and proud because he loved this job."

Related: Wake, funeral information released for firefighter William Tolley

"We will say farewell to Billy this week, but certainly we will never say farewell to his family," FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said. "The members of his family, who will always be a member of this fire department family."

The Tunnel to Towers Foundation in recent years has donated $3 million to help families in their time of need.

"Your daddy is a hero," Frank Siller said. "Your daddy is a hero, and everyone here will here be for you and your family forever."
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