National Fallen Firefighters Foundation

Roll of Honor

Age: 46
Year of Death: 2001

William F. Burke Jr.

William F. Burke Jr.‚ 46‚ captain‚ FDNY‚ Engine 21. Burke‚ who was known as Billy‚ was with the FDNY for more than two decades‚ following in the footsteps of his father‚ an FDNY officer. A natural leader and mentor‚ Burke was an instructor at the Fire Academy. He also spent many summers working as a lifeguard at Robert Moses State Park on Long Island. Burke loved Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra. Civil War history fascinated him and he had visited Gettysburg several times.

He always made everything better.

Memorial Posts


Memorial Wall

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  1. I’ve read a fair bit about Capt. Burke because he’s a friend of a friend (and I use present tense deliberately — friendships don’t vanish when someone moves on) and I stand in wonder of the force of his personality. I look forward to meeting him someday. His appetite for good in all aspects seems amazing to me.

    – Lisa Schnebly
  2. I am a Firefighter at Station 8 here in Wichita, Kansas and this year will be the second year that I have climbed for Captain William Burke in our 2nd annual memorial stair climb. I have read several excerpts about Captain Burke and the kind of man he was and I would have been honored to work for him on Engine 21. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and his crew and I just wanted to let his family know that I will continue to climb for their loved one and I am humbled and honored to do so in his memory. Each year for the stair climb I wear his photo as a reminder of his sacrifice, I keep that photo with me in my gear at all times as a tribute. God Bless Captain William Burke Jr. We’ll take it from here brother.

    FF Haylie Deitchler

    – Haylie Deitchler
  3. I will wear a memorial bracelet with Captain Burke’s name on it to work tomorrow – again and do so every year. I currently teach at a High School in NJ; grew up in Brooklyn. I will share Capt. Burke’s story with my students so they will learn about and not forget the special people who did extraordinary things that day. God bless Captain Burke, his family, friends, fellow firefighters and America.

    – Steven Czelusniak
  4. My uncle was best friends with Billy and hearing his story is crazy and amazing.

    – avery crane
  5. This was the first year that I did a stair climb. It was an honor to walk for William Burke and his family. I would like to thank them for all their sacrifices that they have made through the years. He and his family will be in my prayers. He will be remember.

    – Cindy Kline
  6. Today 9/11/2018 in Glendale AZ I’ll be doing the 9/11 stair challenge in honor of you sir. You are not forgotten.

    – Charlie Bass
  7. Although you’ve been gone for a long time and the world won’t stop moving, a loss like you from this world will never be forgotten.
    May your spirit fly.

    – Stranger from Australia
  8. This was my first year making the climb and I got to climb for Captain Burke. I read his bio and it doesn’t disappoint. Honored to climb in his name.

    – Dave Weisnicht
  9. My name is Billy Burke from Manchester, England. My father’s name was Bill Burke and his forefathers, for many generations before him. My eldest son is 28 years old and his name is William Burke, but he is known as ‘Will’. I just want to say that I know that they are and would have been very proud of what you did and the way you lived your life. I think of you a lot. Well done Billy Burke.

    – Billy Burke
  10. My family and I read your name tonight…9/28/19 at the memorial at ground zero. Thank you for your courage on that day in the face of the unknown terror you and others ran towards on 9-11. You went to work and put others first as you trained and trained others to do. We pray for your family. Thank you

    – William Covington
  11. This was my half brother. I never had the honor of knowing him. I was adopted, we had the same father. From all I’ve read, he sounds like a remarkable man. I would love to have a picture of him and know more.

    – Francesca L Lee
  12. Billy, This morning, i opened my window to find the sweetest smiley faced balloon stuck in the trees, right outside our apartments. Still up to your old tricks? Miss you, my sweet, and loyal friend. Nancy

    – Nancy Fischer
  13. God Bless Billy Burke

    – Louis Burke
  14. Today 9-11-2021 I walked out stair climb in his memory… Just like him I’m a Captain on my fire department… Rest in peace

    – James Coleman
  15. your a hero sir, May God bless your family and loved ones. brave warrior.

    – Joseph abdo
  16. 20 years and we still remember. Your bravery is an inspiration to us all. Your actions were courageous and selfless. Thank you for being a hero in every sense of the word, we will never forget.

    – Maria Greco
  17. 9-11-21 I had the privilege in doing the 9/11 stair climb in Green Bay WI in your honor. Sir thank you and you will never be forgotten. Blessings to your family and friends.

    – Katie Smith
  18. I had the honor of walking in the T2T 5K here in Illinois for Capt. William Burke Jr. From what I’ve read about him, it brought tears to my eyes. Thank you Captain.

    – Aubrey
  19. I saw Captain Burke’s heroism on the news. He was the same age as me. Did he ever live in Poughkeepsie?

    Mike Hayne
  20. Honestly I just now noticed the shirt Joey was wearing on the “Friends” episode from 20 years ago and knew it must be a fallen firefighter from 9/11 and I wanted to know his story. Another beautiful Soul lost. My deepest sympathies to his family and friends.

    – K. Phelps