Funeral Mass began shortly after noon at St. Francis de Sales Church in Belle Harbor, Queens.
“Canarsie will never be the same without you, TK,” fellow firefighter Vincent Geary told mourners. “But we’ll continue to get back on the trucks and do what you loved knowing you’re always with us.”
Up to 20,000 people attended, with a massive gathering of firefighters lining the streets outside the church.
Live coverage of the funeral will be streamed here on abc7ny.com and on our ABC New York streaming apps.
It was a solemn sight when Fireman Klein’s flag-draped coffin arrived at the church.
“(He) accomplished so much in a short space of time, he had so much to do,” said Father William Sweeney, aka Father Bill. “In fact, tomorrow he would be at a wedding party, at a wedding of his dear friends, that will be right here in this church. And they’re going to put up a memorial, in a very special way, to thank Timmy for all that he did. “
Klein, 31, died Sunday when flames engulfed the second floor of the home, causing part of the ceiling to collapse. Another person was killed in the fire in the Canarsie neighborhood of Brooklyn, and eight firefighters and a resident were injured.
“The stories that have come out of the great work, you know, he’d be ashamed that we’re all paying attention,” Father Bill said. “He would probably tell them to flip the picture. He would never want all the attention because he was someone who would always be in the background. But Timmy was the real deal. (Parents) Dee Dee and Pat, you did a great job job. You raised a very fine son who made a difference in a short time. We promise we will be with you now and forever. We will never forget.”
Mayor Eric Adams also spoke, noting that Klein’s retired firefighter father had survived the World Trade Center collapse and lost his son.
“(The family was) the American Dream, knitted together by people putting on uniforms and running for danger and danger, putting their lives on the line, the possibility of never coming home,” he said. “Believe me, Tim would do it again.”
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Klein is remembered for what he did both on and off duty.
“Tim’s father was at work,” acting FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanagh said. “He also has some uncles and cousins at work who are active on the job… All you hear about Tim Klein is, ‘He was the best firefighter, son, best brother.’ He’s the kind of man whose absence leaves a real hole in our hearts and certainly in that of his family.”
Klein, a six-year FDNY veteran, was also a carpenter and partnered with a foundation called Fight for Firefighters.
In one example, Klein was instrumental in making life-changing adjustments to the Long Island home of a 12-year-old boy with cerebral palsy.
“Tim impressed everyone he worked with, junior men he trained and senior men he impressed,” said Lt. Robert Kittelberger of Ladder Company 170 at Klein’s wake Thursday. “He was a very big part of our fire station; he was very reliable in a fire. This was heartbreaking for us. We will stick together and get through the next few days and take care of each other.”
Klein worked at Ladder 170, which has now lost two firefighters in three years.
In a tragic twist of fate, it was Timothy Klein who delivered the eulogy for firefighter Steven Pollard in 2019.
Pollard was killed while responding to a car accident, and his family came for prayers and condolences at Klein’s wake Thursday.
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