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Two Sentenced For Explosion That Killed FD Battalion Chief From Westchester

Michael J. Fahy Photo Credit: NYC Mayor's Office
NDNY Battalion Chief Michael Fahy, with his wife and children. Photo Credit: FDNY/Facebook
Thousands of firemen, NYPD, public officials and civilian attendees lined the streets around the Church of the Annunciation to mourn FDNY Battalion Chief Michael Fahy. Photo Credit: Skip Pearlman

Two men who pleaded guilty to manslaughter in connection with the marijuana grow house explosion that killed FDNY Battalion Chief Michael Fahy, a Westchester resident and Rockland native, have been sentenced to prison.

The 44-year-old Fahy was a Yonkers resident, North Rockland High School graduate and married father of three.

“Battalion Chief Michael Fahy spent the last moments of his life saving others," said Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark. "He responded to a gas-infused building and instructed the residents—including one of the defendants—to evacuate."

Garivaldi Castillo, 33, who has no known address, was sentenced to two to six years on the manslaughter charge, and five years on the marijuana charge, the DA's Office said.

Julio Salcedo, 36, of Manhattan was sentenced to one to three years in prison for manslaughter, and four years on the marijuana charge, officials said.

Their sentences will run concurrently.

According to the investigation, firefighters responded to the two-story building at 300 West 234 Street in Kingsbridge for a gas leak. They found numerous marijuana plants as well as heaters and fertilizer.

The windows on the second floor were covered by foil panels, preventing leaking gas from ventilating. When the gas exploded, it blew off the slate roof and a section of it struck and killed Fahy, and severely injured FDNY Lt. Richard Ruebenacker. In addition, more than 20 other people were injured, including firefighters and police officers on the scene.

"This case was an extremely rare instance in which someone is held criminally responsible for conditions that caused the death of a firefighter in the line of duty in New York City," Clark said. "I hope the prison sentences will send a message to those who would be callous about the safety of residents and first responders."

Fahy, who lived in Crestwood with his wife and children, graduated from North Rockland High School in 1990. He worked for the fire department for 17 years.

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