House explosion kills fire battalion chief, a rising star

Firefighters hang bunting at FDNY Battalion Chief Michael Fahy's Bronx firehouse and remember him, September 28, 2016.

A New York City Fire Department battalion chief died Tuesday while responding to a gas leak and subsequent explosion in the Bronx, the agency said.

FDNY Battalion Chief Michael Fahy was killed in the Tuesday morning Bronx blast.


Nine firefighters, six police officers, three Con Edison workers and two civilians were also injured, DNA Info reported.

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Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro called Fahy a "brave man" who was considered a "rising star" in the ranks during an emotional news conference at Allen Hospital.

Fahy, assigned to the 19th battalion, leaves behind a wife and three children, ages 6, 8 and 11.

Bonifas said that the house, which was recently owned by a doctor and his daughter, had new tenants that let the yard grow unruly, although no other suspicious activity was noted from the suspected drug lab. While the cause of the blast is still under investigation, police say that when the firefighters arrived to check on the gas leak, what they actually found was an illegal drug operation in the home. Fahy, a 17-year veteran of the department, was hit in the head and other parts of his body by a piece of the roof and other debris, the Wall Street Journal reports. NYPD Commissioner O'Neill said yesterday, "We had a couple of weeks ago - we had information we received, and we were in the initial stages of an investigation on that block". At some point, an illegal drug lab was detected and police were called.

"It's a bad loss for the family, for the Fahy family", FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said at a news conference at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, where Fahy was rushed to. "We feel it deeply today".

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The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) confirmed to ABC News Tuesday that it is investigating, alongside local New York City authorities, to determine whether the blast was possibly connected to the alleged marijuana growing operation. Response teams had been working at the scene for about an hour, including getting people out of surrounding buildings, when the explosion occurred.

Mayor de Blasio, who held the morning press conference, looked grim as he described watching the "unspeakable pain" when Chief Fahy's parents were told of their loss.

Later Tuesday, investigators said they were questioning a person of interest but provided no details.

"Chief Fahy made the Supreme Sacrifice while operating today at BOX 3732 in the Bronx". The single-family house was partially destroyed and the explosion rocked an area of row houses in Kingsbridge.

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