NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Thousands of firefighters, elected officials, friends and family bid a final farewell to FDNY Deputy Chief Michael Fahy, who was killed by debris when a house exploded in the Bronx Tuesday.
An estimated 10,000 firefighters from as far away as California gathered at Annunciation Church in Yonkers to pay their last respects. The funeral procession stretched for about a mile, 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria reported.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan helped officiate the mass. Mayor Bill de Blasio and Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro addressed the packed church.
“His chosen work – his life’s work was to protect others, to risk his life, and that was true day-in and day-out,” de Blasio said. “It did not matter what the day brought, his commitment was the same – true of all who choose to put on the uniform, and serve, to be there for the rest of us.”
De Blasio later addressed Fahy’s three children, saying, “When you’re grown up, decades from now, good times and bad, you will be able to rely on that knowledge that not only was your father a good man, he was a hero.”
It was the words of the fallen hero’s children that brought tears to everyone’s eyes, D’Auria reported.
Eleven-year-old Michael Fahy said, “Dad, you’re my hero.”
“Dad, you are the greatest. I could always count on you to be there when I needed you, you were always there on the sidelines of every game cheering me on, I know you were proud of me, and I am so proud of you,” he said.
His 8-year-old daughter, Anna, said Fahy was good at everything.
“He was also a great athlete, cook, musician and very brave. He was the perfect dad,” Anna Fahy said.
Fiona Fahy called her husband an “extraordinary human being” and “the love of her life.” At the end of the Mass, she was presented with his helmet.
At the Flower funeral home in Yonkers Friday, hundreds of New York’s Bravest saluted one of their own.
“It’s what we do,” said FDNY Firefighter Marc Dore.
Mourners paid their respects to Fahy, 44, who was killed in the line of duty in the explosion. Two men are under arrest, suspected of using the home to grow marijuana. Investigators are looking into whether there were using propane tanks or tampered with gas lines to power the illegal operation, CBS2’s Dick Brennan reported.
Firefighters know risking their lives is part of the job.
“It’s truly tragic. Mike was a great guy. I knew him personally,” said Dore. “Everybody’s in such shock. You know, nobody ever thinks it’s going to be them.”
People working near the funeral home were touched by the FDNY’s show of support for Fahy’s wife Fiona and their three children.
“God above is crying over this too,” said Perry Daddary, who works in a nail salon nearby. “It’s very sad. It’s overwhelming. It’s absolutely beautiful, the support they’re giving the family.”
A donation page has been set for the Fahy family. If you’d like to donate, visit fdnyfoundation.org/donate and select the “Chief Michael J. Fahy Children’s Educational Fund.”
Additional photos of Fahy and his family can be found here.