FDNY's Michael Fahy: 'What a True Hero Looks Like'

The Journal News - September 29, 2016

by Journal News

A Journal News editorial On Tuesday, New York City Fire Battalion Chief Michael Fahy, raising his young family in Yonkers, his own childhood rooted in North Rockland, died in the line of duty. He was in the Bronx, directing operations during a neighborhood evacuation, after a report of a possible gas leak. The house exploded, and Fahy was struck with debris.

The FDNY tradition runs strong, and it runs deep in many Lower Hudson Valley families. Like the Fahys, the families of the Bravest are part of our very fabric. We mourn the loss of our neighbor, share our condolences with his family and friends, and express our appreciation for his service and sacrifice.

It was a dangerous situation that Fahy and his fellow first-responders knew too well. Fahy’s father had also been a member of the FDNY, also a chief. Indeed, 20 others, including nine firefighters, six police officers, civilians and Con Edison utility workers, were injured in the blast.

The house that exploded on Tuesday morning, in the Kingsbridge section of the Bronx, had been under probe, after a tip that it was being used as a marijuana grow house. Officials said that an investigation was ongoing. Then there was a smell of gas. And a response, with first-responders, again, rushing into danger. Then a deadly explosion.

Such "grow houses" pose various risks: heavy, constant electric use is often fed by illegal, faulty wiring; various volatile chemicals are often employed to extract and manufacture products from the plants. Such a combustive situation was made all the worse by a gas leak, officials believe.

It had been more than two years since the last FDNY death in the line of duty.

The loss tears at communities across New York: the FDNY and extended first-responder family; Yonkers' Crestwood, where Fahy, his wife, Fiona, and their three children, all under the age of 11, had made their home; and northern Rockland, where Fahy was raised, where he attended school and shone for his academic skills and soccer prowess

Fahy was a SUNY Binghamton and New York Law School graduate, and also earned a master’s degree at the Center for Homeland Defense and Security’s Naval Postgraduate School, according to education records. FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said he was on the rise, a star in a department of heroes.

Firefighters lined the blocks to salute their fallen brother as his body left New York Presbyterian Hospital. On social media, those who knew him, and so many who wished they had the opportunity, joined in honoring him and mourning his death. "What a true hero looks like," commented one person on Facebook.

We have, again, lost a hero.