William David Lake (“Billy”) was a fireman with Rescue 2 in Brooklyn, NY. He perished September 11, 2001, in the North Tower of the World Trade Center. His remains were found on October 9, 2001. He died with 6 other members of Rescue 2.
Billy was born October 30, 1956, the third of four children born to William and Helen Lake. He was an alumni of Power Memorial Academy, class of 1974. When he was as young as seven years old, Billy enjoyed spending time at the neighborhood firehouse. On his obituary guestbook, one friend recalls a time when Billy rescued some people from a burning building. He was a teenager working for a local drug store delivering medicine and ran across a building on fire. He thought nothing of rushing in and carrying out elderly people that were unable to make it out alone. It seems he was predestined for his career.
On September 10, 1981, Billy became a firefighter with Engine 219 in Brooklyn. Six years later Billy would join the elite Rescue 2 Company and come to be known as an outstanding life saver. Along the way, he, like all firemen, ended up with a few bumps and bruises. He suffered hearing loss from an underwater rescue and suffered chemical burns from another rescue. Once, he allegedly performed mouth to “mouth” on a dog to resuscitate him. Billy was on duty for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and also went to Oklahoma City on a recovery mission after the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. He had a very impressive career.
In 1994 Billy married and had a son, Kyler. Kyler was the light of his life.
His friends say he was the best friend to have. He has been described as what I like to think of as a typical tough guy – All rough edges with a soft, warm center that some people never see. He had a Rescue 2 bulldog tattoo, a Harley-Davidson, and a cat he loved. He was good to his mother and good to his son. He loved his job. And although his family – a good family from Bay Ridge, Brooklyn – couldn’t understand it, he was a New York Yankees fan.
On September 9, 2001, Billy’s family had a party for his Mother, who turned 75 that day. On September 10, 2001, Billy celebrated 20 years with the fire department with dinner at the firehouse. On September 11, Billy was the driver for Rescue 2. He took the company to the World Trade Center after the call came out. After the towers fell, other members of Rescue 2 searched relentlessly for their fallen brothers. When Billy was found, an elevator door found next to him indicated that Rescue 2 had made it to the 56th floor.
Although firemen don’t usually embrace the term “Hero,” I think it’s very fitting for Billy Lake. He dedicated his life to ensuring that others may be safe. He went in to the worst situations to help others, to save people. Although noble, his death is not what makes him a hero; rather it was his life. He was a good man, a good son, a good father, and a good brother – to his natural siblings and to his brothers. His life should be celebrated. He should not be forgotten.
So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.