NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Two men charged in connection with a Bronx house explosion that killed an FDNY battalion chief are due in court on Tuesday.
Julio Salcedo Contrer and Garivaldi Castillo are accused of felony marijuana possession. Investigators believe they are part of a drug operation that was run out of the home.
Police say the two men are not talking and won’t say who else is involved, but the Bronx district attorney says the men will have to indicate if they plan to testify before a grand jury.
FDNY Battallion Chief Michael Fahy was struck and killed by flying debris while he and several fire units were responding to calls of a gas odor at the house on West 234th Street.
He was on the scene for about an hour directing operations from the street when the two-story home exploded.
Contrer was seen at the house when firefighters responded to the report of the gas odor, authorities said. He disappeared in the chaos of the blast, officials said, before being picked up in New Jersey.
Authorities are investigating to see if utility lines had been tampered with or if a rigged-up propane tank led to the blast.
“We have a lot of botanical substances that would aid in a grow house,” NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said. “We have gas piping and meters. We have grow pots. We have sealants that covered up the second-floor apartment.”
Fahy, a 17-year veteran, was described as a “rising star” in the department and a dedicated family man who was married with three young children.
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.”