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police & fire

Two Indicted In House Explosion That Killed North Rockland's Michael Fahy

NDNY Battalion Chief Michael Fahy, a native of North Rockland, was killed when a building exploded on Tuesday.
NDNY Battalion Chief Michael Fahy, a native of North Rockland, was killed when a building exploded on Tuesday. Photo Credit: FDNY/Facebook
Julio Salcedo Contrer
Julio Salcedo Contrer Photo Credit: MUGSHOT: Courtesy BERGEN COUNTY SHERIFF

NORTH ROCKLAND, N.Y. -- Two men allegedly involved in the house explosion that killed FDNY Deputy Chief Michael Fahy, who grew up in Rockland and lived in Yonkers, in September have been indicted by a Bronx grand jury.

Garivaldi Castillo, 32, of New York City, and Julio Jose Salcedo Contrer, 34, of Cliffside Park, New Jersey, were indicted for felony first-degree assault, felony second-degree assault and felony criminal possession of marijuana, according to Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark.

“Chief Fahy responded to a building that turned out to be a time bomb. These defendants allegedly were growing marijuana and kept flammable substances on the premises," Clark said. "Chief Fahy ordered residents out of the building-- including one of the defendants--and saved their lives. He was mortally injured when the force of the explosion blew off the slate roof and it struck him.”

Fahy, a 17-year veteran of the department was a battalion chief in the Kingsbridge section of the Bronx at the time of his death. He was posthumously promoted to deputy chief.

Castillo and Salcedo were arraigned before Chief Administrative Judge Robert Torres and are due back in court on Nov. 23.  If convicted of the top charge, they could face up to 25 years in prison, Clark said.

According to the investigation, firefighters responded to the two-story building at 300 West 234th St. for a possible gas leak. They found numerous marijuana plants as well as heaters, fertilizer, and tanks of helium, allegedly maintained by Castillo and Salcedo. When the building exploded, debris killed Fahy, 44, and injured Firefighter Richard Ruebenacker.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney John Miras under the supervision of Christine Scaccia, deputy chief of the Homicide Bureau.

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