Thousands Mourn at Funeral For Michael Fahy, FDNY Chief Killed in Bronx Drug House Explosion

NY Daily News - October 03, 2016

by Laura Dimon, Larry Mcshane

FDNY Deputy Chief Michael Fahy loved his beautiful wife and their three kids, the music of Bruce Springsteen and Johnny Cash — and the job that ultimately killed him.

Tears flowed freely to the mournful sound of bagpipes Saturday as thousands of firefighters gathered for the funeral of Fahy, a second-generation FDNY member and devoted family man.

Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro recalled that Fahy, 44, worked on Wall Street and went to law school before answering his calling with the FDNY 17 years ago.

“He could have been anything he wanted to be,” said Nigro. “The sky was the limit. But what he wanted to be more than anything was to be one of us.

“We are much better and greater because he chose us.”

A line of firefighters in dress blues and neighbors in tears lined the street for a mile leading to Annunciation Church in Yonkers.

His teary wife Fiona, before delivering one of several emotional eulogies, clutched their 8-year-old daughter Anna Elisabeth as the casket — draped with an FDNY flag — was brought inside.

The widow and all three of her kids stood flanked by dozens of Fahy’s colleagues, their white-gloved right hands frozen in a final salute to her husband.

“Everything he did, he did with grace and humility,” said Fiona Fahy, who recalled her guitar-playing spouse as a fan of Cash and Springsteen. “He was thoughtful and profoundly kind.”

Oldest son Michael reduced the church to sobs when he spoke briefly about his father.

“Dad, I could always count on you,” he said. “I know you were proud of me, and I’m so proud of you.”

Michael and his kid brother Cormac each held one of their father’s white FDNY dress hats outside the church. Fahy had coached his namesake son’s baseball and basketball teams at the church where the funeral was held.

The funeral program showed a heart-breaking photo of Fahy, with Cormac hoisted on his shoulders, running through an apple orchard behind Michael, 11, and Anna Elisabeth, 8.

Mayor de Blasio offered his condolences to all three kids on behalf of the entire city of New York before extolling their dad for his heroism and sacrifice. “His chosen work was to protect others, to risk his life, and that was true day in and day out,” said de Blasio. “It did not matter what the day brought. His commitment was the same.

“He could have been wealthy,” the mayor continued. “But he felt a different calling.”

Fahy was killed Tuesday morning when a Bronx drug house exploded after he and his squad arrived to investigate a reported gas leak on W. 234th St.

Two suspects were arrested on drug charges linked to the second-floor marijuana farm, where the plants were grown in large plastic pots. Fahy came face to face with one of the men before the fatal blast.

The FDNY veteran received a posthumous promotion to deputy chief two days after the tragic accident.

His father Thomas, who worked alongside current commissioner Nigro, retired as a decorated battalion chief in 2001 after 33 years.

FDNY Capt. Brendan Deehan, one of Fahy’s best friends, joked that all the attention would have embarrassed him. But Deehan noted that Fahy left behind a legacy for all who knew him.

“If you did what Mike would do, you know you did the right thing,” he said. “He died doing the right things. I’m so lucky to call him my friend.”

The funeral Mass ended with a final prayer from Timothy Cardinal Dolan.

Fahy, the chief of Battalion 19 in the Bronx, became the first FDNY member killed in the line of duty since the July 2014 death of Lt. Gordon Ambelas in a Brooklyn high-rise fire.

His wife said the hardest thing to accept was the idea that Fahy’s kids would grow up without him. “Mike would climb 100 mountains to be with his children,” she said before addressing the three youngsters directly.

“Daddy loves you so much,” she said to cheers and tears. “And he was so proud of you, and always will be.”