Mourning continues for FDNY chief killed in Bronx explosion; Suspect in court

KINGSBRIDGE, Bronx (WABC) -- Mourners are again gathering Friday to remember the FDNY battalion chief killed in the line of duty in Tuesday's house explosion in the Bronx.

The wake for Michael Fahy continued at Flower Funeral Home in Yonkers, with his funeral scheduled for Saturday at 11 a.m. at Annunciation Church in Yonkers.

The FDNY will provide live coverage of the funeral on its Facebook page beginning at 11 a.m.

Meanwhile, the 34-year-old tenant of the suspected marijuana grow house that exploded appeared in court. Julio Salcedo Contrer waived extradition when he appeared in a Hackensack courtroom Thursday.

Friday night, he appeared in the Bronx on drug-related charges after he was arrested in Cliffside Park on a fugitive warrant Tuesday. He is now charged with felony criminal possession of marijuana.

A co-conspirator in the alleged growing operation, identified as 32-year-old Garivaldi Castillo, has been arraigned on criminal possession of marijuana charges. He was ordered held without bail.

The sea of mourners honoring Fahy barely fit in the parking lot Thursday, with an overflow crowd that included firefighters in their dress blues along with others waiting to pay their respects.

Fahy, of Battalion 19, died when he was struck by debris from the blast. He was a 17-year veteran of the FDNY, joining the force in 1999.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro announced the posthumous promotion of Fahy to the rank of Deputy Chief, the highest civil service promotional achievement in the FDNY.

"He was on the list to become Deputy Chief, it's something well-deserved," Nigro said. "I have no doubt that in a number of years, Chief Fahy would have led this department."
There was only heartbreak for the brotherhood of firefighters and for Chief Fahy's family.

"To lose Mike, it's like getting stabbed, you know what I mean," retired FDNY Captain Stephen Damato said. "You have this pain in your heart that just doesn't go away."

Fahy was originally assigned to Engine Company 35 in Harlem, where he worked for five years before transferring to Ladder 14, located in the same firehouse.

"Chief Michael Fahy was a very talented member of the FDNY who died protecting and serving our great city," Mayor de Blasio said. "His career was remarkable both for his selfless devotion to duty and his meteoric ascension in rank, which continues today with this deserved promotion to Deputy Chief in the FDNY."

In 2004, he was promoted to Lieutenant and was assigned to Battalion 3 in the Bronx, before being assigned to Engine 83 in the South Bronx. Upon his promotion to Captain in 2007, he was transferred to Division 1 in lower Manhattan, where he worked in multiple fire companies. After being promoted to Battalion Chief, he first worked in Battalion 20 in the Bronx before transferring to Battalion 19.

Fahy is the 1,145th firefighter to die in the line of duty since the FDNY's founding in 1865. The last member of the Department to die on duty was Lieutenant Gordan Ambelas, of Ladder 119, on July 5, 2014.
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