The FDNY is mourning the loss of Battalion Chief Michael Fahy, a 17-year veteran and father of three, killed when an explosion at a Bronx house rained debris down upon him. According to metro.us, “Fahy is the FDNY’s highest ranking member to die in the line of duty since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, and the first member to be killed since July 2014.” On October 12, Mayor de Blasio spoke in honor of Chief Fahy at a ceremony at the Firemen’s Memorial on Riverside Drive.
The tragic death occurred just around 7:30 a.m. on September 27 at a private two-story home at 304 W. 234th Street in Kingsbridge. A neighbor, Adrianna Fellheimer, said she’d awoken to the smell of gas around 6 a.m. and called 911. As the fire department evacuated the block, police arrived to investigate the house, which two weeks earlier had been reported anonymously as a suspected drug lab or marijuana growing site. Shortly thereafter, a violent explosion at the house erupted, “killing Fahy and injuring nine firefighters, six police officers, three Con Edison workers and two civilians.”
Late that afternoon in Cliffside, New Jersey, officers with the Regional Fugitive Task Force arrested one of the home’s renters, Julio Salcedo, 34, on a warrant for petty crime. According to USA Today, Salcedo and Garivaldi Castillo, 32, of Manhattan, have since been indicted on charges of first-degree and second-degree assault and first-degree criminal possession of marijuana in relation to the incident. Each man faces up to 25 years in prison.
Chief Fahy became a firefighter in 1999. He was promoted to lieutenant in 2004, to captain in 2007 and to battalion chief in 2012, and was serving in the Bronx.
FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro, who served with Fahy’s father, a former fire chief, called Michael Fahy a “rising star.” Citing the tragedy as a “reminder of the dangers first responders face every day,” Nigro lamented, “We lost a hero today and our members are all saddened.”
At Barasch & McGarry, we share those sentiments. As lawyers privileged to represent FDNY firefighters, we have the utmost respect for their service and stand in awe of their bravery. Our prayers go out to Chief Fahy’s family.