Thousands gather for funeral of FDNY firefighter killed in the line of duty

BETHPAGE, New York (WPIX) -- Family man, veteran firefighter and beloved band mate William Tolley was laid to rest Thursday, as hundreds gathered to honor him at a funeral in Bethpage.

The 42-year-old died in the line of duty one week ago while fighting a fire in Queens.

"He now joins that list of heroes produced in our history," FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said.

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FDNY firefighter William Tolley
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FDNY firefighter William Tolley
A woman reacts after leaving flowers in front of the firehouse of William Tolley, a New York City firefighter from Ladder 135 Engine 286 who was killed yesterday, following a memorial ceremony in the Queens borough of New York City, U.S., April 21, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Members of the FDNY salute after a ceremonial draping of purple and black bunting on the exterior of the firehouse where, William Tolley, a New York City firefighter from Ladder 135 Engine 286, was based in the Queens borough of New York City, U.S., April 21, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Members of the FDNY who belong to the same firehouse where, William Tolley, a New York City firefighter from Ladder 135 Engine 286, was based react after a ceremony following the firefighters death yesterday in the Queens borough of New York City, U.S., April 21, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Members of the community stand with members of the FDNY outside of the firehouse of William Tolley, a New York City firefighter from Ladder 135 Engine 286 who was killed yesterday, following a memorial ceremony in the Queens borough of New York City, U.S., April 21, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Members of the community stand outside of the firehouse of William Tolley, a New York City firefighter from Ladder 135 Engine 286 who was killed yesterday, following a memorial ceremony in the Queens borough of New York City, U.S., April 21, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Members of the FDNY who belong to the same firehouse where, William Tolley, a New York City firefighter from Ladder 135 Engine 286, was based react after a ceremony following the firefighters death yesterday in the Queens borough of New York City, U.S., April 21, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Members of the FDNY stand during a ceremonial draping of purple and black bunting on the exterior of the firehouse where, William Tolley, a New York City firefighter from Ladder 135 Engine 286, was based in the Queens borough of New York City, U.S., April 21, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Family members of William Tolley, a New York City firefighter from Ladder 135 Engine 286 who was killed yesterday, react during a bunting ceremony at his firehouse in the Queens borough of New York City, U.S., April 21, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Members of the FDNY who belong to the same firehouse where, William Tolley, a New York City firefighter from Ladder 135 Engine 286, was based react after a ceremony following the firefighters death yesterday in the Queens borough of New York City, U.S., April 21, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Family members of William Tolley, a New York City firefighter from Ladder 135 Engine 286 who was killed yesterday, react during a bunting ceremony at his firehouse in the Queens borough of New York City, U.S., April 21, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
A man in a wheelchair rolls past members of the FDNY standing outside of the firehouse of William Tolley, a New York City firefighter from Ladder 135 Engine 286 who was killed yesterday, before a memorial ceremony in the Queens borough of New York City, U.S., April 21, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Members of the community stand outside of the firehouse of William Tolley, a New York City firefighter from Ladder 135 Engine 286 who was killed yesterday, following a memorial ceremony in the Queens borough of New York City, U.S., April 21, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
A man watches from the window of his apartment as members of the FDNY hang memorial bunting outside of the firehouse of William Tolley, a New York City firefighter from Ladder 135 Engine 286 who was killed yesterday, during a memorial ceremony in the Queens borough of New York City, U.S., April 21, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Members of the FDNY look at a poster hanging outside of the firehouse of William Tolley, a New York City firefighter from Ladder 135 Engine 286 who was killed yesterday, before a memorial ceremony in the Queens borough of New York City, U.S., April 21, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
A young boy leaves a toy at a memorial outside of the firehouse of William Tolley, a New York City firefighter from Ladder 135 Engine 286 who was killed yesterday, before a memorial ceremony in the Queens borough of New York City, U.S., April 21, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Members of the FDNY salute after a ceremonial draping of purple and black bunting on the exterior of the firehouse where, William Tolley, a New York City firefighter from Ladder 135 Engine 286, was based in the Queens borough of New York City, U.S., April 21, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
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Only a month after the department lost FDNY EMT Yadira Arroyo, the same somber pomp and circumstance will play out at his funeral on Long Island Thursday morning. It's where Billy Tolley lived with his wife and their 8-year-old daughter, Bella.

"Bella and I and our entire family are trying to get through this together and we want to say thank you from the bottom of our hearts," Marie Tolley said.

Tolley's family stood bravely at his firehouse earlier this week, as the Tunnels to Tower foundation announced it would pay off his family's mortgage. The non-profit founded after 9/11 helps families of fallen first responders – many of whom rushed to Lower Manhattan just like Tolley on the city's darkest day.

Aside from his heroism, he helped start a popular heavy metal band with his friend.

"Half of my soul, or whatever, has been torn and I can't fathom it," said Chris Pervelis, co-founding member of Internal Bleeding.

No one who knew him can.

"He had something to offer," FDNY Captain Rich Blasi said. "We're at a loss for Billy."

PIX11's Ashley Soley-Cerro contributed to this report.

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