Tunnel to Towers Foundation Paying Off Mortgage of Fallen Firefighter's Family

The family of fallen firefighter William Tolley is getting a boost from the Tunnel to Towers Foundation. NY1's Gene Apodaca filed the following report.

With her 8-year-old daughter by her side, the widow of firefighter William Tolley acknowledged a donation by the Steven Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation paying off the family's mortgage.

"I know Billy would be so grateful and proud because he loved this job," said Marie Tolley, Billy's widow.

William Tolley died Thursday after falling five stories while fighting a blaze in Ridgewood.

Tragically, this is the second time in two months the foundation has stepped up to help a grieving family. In March, the organization donated $100,000 to the five children of Yadira Arroyo, the EMT who died when a man allegedly carjacked her ambulance and ran her over. 

"When something like this happens, it is our responsibility to make sure that we come together and we say not only thank you and we pray for the family, but we take real action," said Frank Siller, CEO of the Tunnel to Towers Foundation.

Tolley’s death sparked an outpouring of support for his family.

Exactly why he fell remains unclear. Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro says the investigation will be thorough.

"For us, the speed with which we determine the events is far less important than the accuracy," he said.

The Siller Foundation was founded to help families of fallen September 11th first responders. It has evolved since then to help the families of police and service members.  

Since 2014, when it helped the families of murdered police officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, it has donated more than $3 million. 

On Monday, the foundation appealed to the public for help, saying families of those who put their lives on the line shouldn't have to worry if tragedy strikes.

"You see the love here today. You see all the people who care that, know your daddy is a hero. Your daddy is a hero," Siller said.

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