Bronx House Explosion that Killed FDNY Firefighter Possibly Caused by Tampered Gas Main: NYPD

Associated Press - October 01, 2016

by AP

BRONX, N.Y. — A house explosion in the Bronx that killed a fire battalion chief may have been caused by a tampered gas main.

At a graduation for new police officers Thursday, New York Police Department Commissioner James O’Neill told Newsday the tampered gas main leaked then sparked, causing the Tuesday blast that killed Chief Michael Fahy.

Authorities are looking into whether the building was used to grow marijuana.

A Manhattan resident, Garivaldi Castillo, has been arrested on criminal possession of marijuana charges. His lawyer has questioned the evidence linking him to the house.

At a court hearing Thursday, prosecutors said the home had been tightly sealed with insulation to keep the plants warm. They said there were also bins of fertilizer.

A second suspect, Julio Salcedo Contrer, waived extradition from New Jersey during a court appearance Thursday in Hackensack.

The 34-year-old was arrested in Cliffside Park on a fugitive warrant on Tuesday. He was wanted for questioning in the blast that killed Fahy.