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RIP Firefighter Timothy Klein

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I never thought I would have to write these words but,  given the events of this last week, everything I’m about to write, and the importance of the message, I feel I have to. 

For just under five years, I served as a member of the FDNY, The New York City Fire Department for those unfamiliar with the acronym. It’s a job that holds great esteem within my family, my neighborhood, and my city. I was honored to have served for that time and was heartbroken that I had to leave the job.  I miss that career every day; some days more than others. It’s a job that comes with extreme danger. I will never forget, during training, how members with experience instilled in us the extreme risk of this job and that, every day, you reported for work you could face a life-threatening scenario.

Tragically, this week, that life-threatening scenario happened to Timothy Klein, a six-year member of Ladder 170 in the Canarsie section of Brooklyn. Timmy passed fighting a blaze on Sunday night and will be laid to rest this Friday at a funeral attended by every member of the department, past and present. He was just 31 years old.

Timmy was the son of a retired Firefighter Patrick Klein. His cousin Keith worked nearby at Ladder 174.

I knew Timmy a little bit. We shared a good amount of mutual friends and I recognized his face right away, as I had been a referee at some of his men's league basketball games the past few years in Brooklyn. He was a crafty point guard who played really well. I enjoyed every time he was on the court. It was also a nice change of pace because his teammates, who knew me very well, complained way more than he did. Those teammates were very close with Timmy and I recently learned that his cousin attended the same high school as my brother.

Timmy was from Rockaway Beach. For those not from the city, it's a beautiful beach community in Queens. I have family in Rockaway and a ton of friends from that area. It’s a place that produces some characters. My high school classmates and friends from Rockaway always seemed to have a quick wit, a funny story, or a sharp comeback for anyone they'd go toe-to-toe with. I spent a lot of weekends there in high school and always seemed to laugh my ass off with those guys. I imagine Timmy and his friends were right up there with the quick wit and funny stories, as well.

For all its characters, Rockaway also embodies everything that’s great about communities within the city of New York.

It's a small peninsula of about 13,000 people; often referred to as The Irish Riviera; a nod to its high population of Irish-Americans. Its residents take great pride in their community and often find their way into occupations of service such as Police, Firefighters, Medical workers, and, of course, the occasional bartender.

Rockaway has been through a ton. The area lost close to 70 current and former residents on September 11th. Two months later, on November, 12th, Flight 587 crashed in Rockaway. Then, in 2012, Hurricane Sandy devastated the community’s homes and businesses; some of which never recovered. As a friend described to me, recently, “Rockaway is a place in New York that has been through everything.”

I became even more heartbroken by this news when I spoke to Rone, who mentioned he had just met Timmy for the first time on Thursday before he passed. Timmy and a number of firefighters who are friends with Rone stopped by the Barstool office after a Met game. They were given some items to raffle off at a benefit for a member of their house they had lost in 2019, Steve Pollard. In the little I know about Timmy, it’s fitting that before he made the ultimate sacrifice, he was thinking of others.

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(Quick note- Don't ask Brandon Walker to take your photo it will end up being a photo of your feet) 

Timmy, known as “The Canarsie Kid” by the members of his house, gave the eulogy for Steve when he passed in 2019, as they were the best of friends. He spoke about their friendship, how great a young man Steve was, their bond as firefighters, and all the positives Steve brought to the job. He also spoke about how much he would miss him, how much he loved him, and how much he respected him as a firefighter. I suggest you go watch that video and take note of how impressive it was for Timmy to speak so eloquently about his friend during a time of heartbreak. It embodies everything about his own upbringing, his resilience, and his strength.  

Friday morning, another member of Ladder 170 will speak about Timmy. Canarsie’s Bravest will eulogize two young firefighters in just three short years. I cannot fathom the heartbreak and the anguish those members are experiencing right now.

During the past week, many people have spoken about Timmy. How great a man he was, how great a firefighter he was, and how much they will miss him.

FDNY Captain Mark Schweighart said “ Timmy was an officer’s dream. He was the guy you looked to and all the men and women in this house looked to. Timmy was squared away; he knew his job. The Department will now honor him and take care of his family. We will miss him and we will never forget him. We’re going to get back on those rigs another day, and we’re going to honor Timmy by doing that. That’s what we do.”

Mayor Eric Adams said, “Firefighter Timothy Klein gave new meaning to the name ‘New York’s Bravest.’ His heroics were matched only by his heart, To his family, loved ones, and fellow firefighters: this city mourns with you tonight.”

"When I think about Timmy, I think about the fact that he had a positive impact on every person that he met. You would be hard-pressed to find anyone who had a bad thing to say about Timmy,” said Keith Klein about his cousin. “It is quite a loss inside and outside the firehouse, and I think, if you look at the faces behind me, you can tell what a loss Timmy is to Canarsie’s bravest."

One of those teammates from that men's league I talked about before said this to me when I asked if he had anything he wanted to say about his dear friend Timmy, 

“The world didn’t lose a great person.  They, literally, lost the best person. “

After speaking with Dave, Dan, and Erika, all of whom I am extremely thankful for as they never waver in their support of charities or first-responders, Rone and I have decided the best way to  raise money in Timmy's memory is to release a T-shirt.



100% of net proceeds will be donated to the Fight For Firefighters Foundation in loving memory of firefighter Timothy Klein.

Please consider a purchase to honor the memory of Timmy Klein, who gave his life protecting others.

Our prayers are with his family, Patrick, Diane, and his three sisters Tara, Bridget, and Erin.

"May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields.
And, until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand."

“Fairness doesn’t govern life and death, If it did, no good person would ever die young.”

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