Funeral held for fallen FDNY firefighter Timothy Klein
Friends, family, co-workers and people who never met firefighter Timothy Klein said their final farewell at his funeral service Friday.
Klein died Sunday while helping put out the flames of a massive fire at a home in Canarsie. The FDNY says the effort to put out the fire was going according to plans until the second floor of the building went up in flames too. Then there was a collapse in the home.
Ladder 170 in Canarsie is where Klein spent his entire six-year career with the FDNY. Over the last week, Ladder 170 became a natural memorial to the 31-year-old.
On Monday, the honorary bunting was put outside the building. The tributes have grown, with flowers, pictures and candles.
Friday's funeral procession passed by other tributes featuring red bows and signs on the way to St. Francis de Sales in Belle Harbor. Thousands from the FDNY, the NYPD and firefighters from across the country arrived to pay their respects.
In a sea of FDNY insignia, American flags and sorrow, firefighters led Klein‘s funeral procession as they carried his casket and marched toward the altar with their hands over their hearts.
With Mayor Eric Adams and acting Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh in attendance, family members, friends, colleagues said their final goodbyes to Klein.
"Tim was everything you ever wanted as a son, brother, partner, firefighter and friend," said Firefighter Vincent Geary of FDNY Ladder 170.
Geary, who fought Sunday's fire that killed Klein, shared some of their favorite moments with him. He said Klein will be remembered as a humanitarian, prankster, athlete and dedicated firefighter.
"Canarsie will never be the same without you T.K., but we will continue to get back in the trucks and do what you loved knowing you are always with us. We will never forget you. We all love you Klein-o," Geary said choking back tears.
Cheerful and joking about her son's athletic abilities and shopping habits, Klein's mother, Dee Dee Klein, wrapped up the day's emotional eulogies delivered in honor of her only baby boy.
"Timmy was a New York City firefighter and so very proud. He loved his job. He made sure he arrived ridiculously early for every shift with food and iced coffee in hand that we all know he loved to swirl more than actually drink," his mother said.
She paid homage to the relationships her son had with each of his little sisters, his grandmother, friends and colleagues-- and of course his beloved girlfriend and parents. She said she will always remember her son as her "sunny boy" and for always helping others.
"Our hearts will be broken forever, but we know that Tim would want us to quietly pay it forward just as he always managed to do," Dee Dee Klein said.
One thing that stood out during the service was how many fellow firefighters near and far who attended to pay their respects.
Firefighters from New Jersey, North Carolina and Illinois said they wanted to show their unity for one another and to support the family.
The community also came together as one. Red ribbons hung throughout the tightknit community where Klein was dearly loved.
"He brought light into every room," said Kirsten McCabe, who grew up with Klein. "He was amazing friend. Awesome to know and everybody who knew him was absolutely lucky to know him."
Many fought back tears during the procession, like John Mazzola, the owner of La Sorrentina.
"He was 31 years old, and it's very sad," Mazzola said.
This is not the first time that Ladder 170 has gone through this. It was just over three years ago that they lost another firefighter - Steven Pollard, and it was Klein who gave the eulogy at his funeral.
As people paid tributes to Klein, the FDNY set up the Firefighter Timothy Klein Foundation to raise funds for some of the organizations he donated so much of his time to.