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Thread: About Bill

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2001

    About Bill

    The horse was on its knees, smoke-sick and frozen with fear, when Billy Lake and his partners found it in the burning barn.

    They had followed the whinnying they'd heard from outside the inferno at the Bergen Beach stables in south Brooklyn. The men decided it was time to go when the horse refused to budge, but Lake was just as stubborn.

    "He said, 'No, I ain't leaving that horse,'" recalled Rescue 2 firefighter Clifford Pase of the June 2000 arson that killed 21 of 24 horses. "So we put straps on him, rigged him up and dragged him out. And Billy gave him oxygen, and he survived."

    That horse was just one of many animals rescued over the years by Lake, who once performed mouth-to-snout respiration on a dog he'd pulled out of frozen Prospect Park Lake, comrades remembered Friday night at a wake in his lifelong neighborhood of Bay Ridge.

    A Harley-Davidson lover, too, Lake was remembered by 700 motorcyclists from all over the tristate area who rode to the firehouse Sunday in a memorial benefit.

    But Lake, 44, was better known for his passionate dedication to saving human lives. The 20-year-veteran had suffered hearing loss from rescue scuba dives, and chemicals encountered on another call had burned the skin of his hands. But Lake wanted to put in at least another five years before taking retirement, said his former wife, Dorothy Lake, with whom he had reconciled.

    "His saying was, 'Pain is just weakness leaving the body,'" she recalled.

    Retired firefighter Richard Evers, a friend, remembered Lake's intense commitment when the two went to Oklahoma City as part of a rescue / recovery team.

    A group of federal Drug Enforcement Administration agents was standing vigil at the Oklahoma site, refusing to budge until their partner was brought out of the wreckage. They pointed to the spot where he'd been when the building blew, a perilous, hard-to-reach spot beneath what firefighters came to call the "Mother Slab" of precariously dangling concrete.

    Lake, Evers and their partners went to work and got the agent's remains out within a couple of hours. They stood silently at attention as the dead man's colleagues carried him away.

    "This was just one of the victim removals we were involved in, but for some reason we took this very personal," Lake recalled in a diary-type account called "Random Thoughts on Oklahoma," an experience he said "made you proud to be an American."

    Last week, another group of recovery workers stood at attention as Lake's own company members carried his flag-wrapped remains from the wreckage of the World Trade Center. They circulated that essay at his wake.

    Lake's recovery brought closure, at least, to a grueling month of uncertainty for his 7-year-old son, Kyler. The boy had finally called Evers, his godfather, demanding to take part in the recovery effort.

    "He didn't think they were doing a good enough job," Dorothy Lake said Friday, as the tousle-haired boy fidgeted and wandered among the funeral wreaths. "Every night, he kept saying, 'Daddy's waiting for me.'"

  2. #2
    Tommy Willard

    Smile����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Fire fighter/paramedic Greensboro NC

    I had the pleasure of talking to billy on the phone back around 1992-93, after seeing a special on tv about Rescue 2. I called and he was the one that answered the phone at the house. We talked alittle about the job and the differences in our departments. I soon found out that he was a very dedicated fire fighter and a hell of a nice person to chat with. Acouple of weeks later he sent me a Rescue 2 tee shirt, which I still have to this day. It is one shirt that no one will ever take from me. I wear it quite proudly, and speak very highly of the Rescue 2 company when ever I am asked about them. We wear the leather newyorker style helments down here too, and after 9-11, I had an artist paint the Rescue 2 emblem on the back of my helment on one side and on the other side "In memory of FF Lake, and FF O'Rourke gone but not forgotten." I also had the chance to speak with Kevin O'Rourke, and seemed like such a super person. God bless all of the members of the FDNY, living and passed on. I still have the utmost respect for you all.

    Tommy Willard

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