“I have no ambition in this world but one, and that is to be a firefighter The position may, in the eyes of some, appear to be a lowly one; but we who know the work which the firefighter has to do believe that his is a noble calling."
-Chief Edward F. Croker FDNY circa 1910
Two men who ran a marijuana grow house in the Bronx pleaded guilty Friday to manslaughter charges in the death of an FDNY chief when the building exploded, prosecutors said.
Garivaldi Castillo, 32, of Harlem, and Julio Salcedo, 34, of the Bronx, pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter and first-degree criminal possession of marijuana in Bronx Criminal Court.
As part of the plea deal hammered out by their attorneys, Castillo will be sentenced to six years in prison, and Salcedo will be sentenced to up to three years in prison.
Both were maintaining the grow house on W. 234th St. near Irwin Ave. in Kingsbridge on Sept. 27, 2016, when firefighters were called in on a report of a gas leak.
FDNY Chief Michael Fahy and a group of Emergency Services cops had just evacuated the building and were leaving the premises at 7:30 a.m. when a massive explosion blew the roof right off the home.
Fahy, a married dad of two, died when debris from the blast rained down on him.
The fallen chief was considered one of the department’s rising stars. His father, Tom Fahy, retired as a battalion chief in 2001.
Fahy joined the FDNY in 1999 and quickly moved up the ranks. He made lieutenant in 2004, was promoted to captain in 2007 and battalion chief in 2012, officials said.
Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark said Fahy saved Salcedo’s life by ordering the evacuation of the building containing the grow house. Salcedo escaped the building before it blew up.
“Battalion Chief Michael Fahy spent the last moments of his life of public service saving others,” Clark said in a statement Friday. “These defendants today have pleaded guilty to constructing a marijuana grow house, in which they sealed the windows of the second floor, prohibiting the ventilation of leaking gas, recklessly causing the death of Chief Fahy.”
“This is an extremely rare instance where someone is being held criminally responsible for conditions that caused the death of a firefighter in the line of duty in New York City,” Clark said.