A firefighter died Thursday when he fell five stories while battling a blaze, officials and sources said.

The fire started on the second floor of a residential building on Putnam Avenue in Ridgewood, Queens, around 2:30 p.m.

The firefighter, identified as William Tolley, 42, was in a ladder bucket while attempting to extinguish the flames when he fell, sources and witnesses said.

“One of them was controlling the ladder and the other was in the basket. I was in my apartment looking out the window and then all of a sudden I saw him fall,” said neighbor Angie Cordero, 43. “I ran inside screaming hysterically asking for help. I didn’t want to look down.”

“He was done inspecting the building, the ladder was coming back but then it jerked. He fell face down,” said another neighbor. “We were all in shock. I think he was in shock too because he didn’t even scream when he was falling.”

Tolley died at Wyckoff Heights Medical Center.


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Thoughts & prayers from all  are with the men & women of @FDNY following line-of-duty firefighter death today in Queens. Rest in peace.

Three civilians suffered minor injuries during the blaze.

It’s not immediately clear what caused Tolley to fall from the roof, officials said.