QUEENS — The veteran FDNY firefighter killed in the line of duty while responding to a blaze in Ridgewood Thursday was a “family guy” and “the heartbeat” of his popular death-metal band that was set to tour the country this summer.
William “Bill” Tolley, 42, co-founded Internal Bleeding in 1991. The group was slated to release a new single on Friday ahead of its nationwide tour that kicks off next month, according to the group’s Facebook page.
“Our drummer, the heartbeat of the band, died today,” the group wrote on its Facebook page. “There are ZERO WORDS to describe the loss. He was a good, decent and honorable man who loved his friends, his family and the people he served. There will never be another like him.”
Tolley, a 14-year FDNY veteran, was being lifted to the roof of 1615 Putnam Avenue, near Wyckoff Avenue, when he fell to the sidewalk and died about 2:20 p.m., fire officials said.
He was performing a routine operation to ventilate the building while firefighters worked to extinguish the blaze, FDNY officials said.
Tolley, of Bethpage, is survived by his wife, Marie, and an 8-year-old daughter.
“I am a family guy,” he told the website Allabouttherock.com in 2013. “I love spending time with my wife and daughter doing all sorts of fun stuff together.”
Internal Bleeding wrote on Facebook Friday that it was still planning to release the single, “Final Justice,” in Tolley’s honor.
The group is set to hit South Carolina next month as part of its “Strike of the Empire Tour,” with stops in Dallas, San Diego and Chicago, among other cities, also planned this summer.
Tolley said one of the things he loved about being with the FDNY was the flexibility of his schedule.
“My guys work with me,” he told Allabouttherock. “When I need time off for a show, they step up and fill in for me at work. No other job in the world can compare to what I do.”