Man in custody in connection with deadly explosion at alleged grow house in the Bronx

Posted: 6:58 PM, Sep 27, 2016
Updated: 2016-09-28 10:01:53-04

KINGSBRIDGE, the Bronx — A man is in custody, being questioned in connection to a house explosion that killed an FDNY battalion chief and injured 20 other people, including multiple police officers and firefighters.

It happened at a home in the Bronx that may have served as a grow house for marijuana, officials said Tuesday.

Police are expected to continue investigating well into Wednesday and possibly beyond at the scene of the explosion, at 304 W. 234th Street. It is considered a crime scene.

In custody is Julio Salcedo. He was charged with a misdemeanor, but is being questioned in relation to the explosion.

Police initially said Salcedo is 28 years old, but officials at Bergen County Jail, where is being held Wednesday, later said his age is 34.

Salcedo was spotted on surveillance video leaving the home Tuesday morning before the explosion. It happened at about 7:30 a.m., according to the FDNY.

The firefighter who was killed has been identified as Battalion Chief Michael J. Fahy, a 17-year veteran of the department, officials said at a news conference Tuesday afternoon.

He was struck in the head and other parts of his body by portions of the home's roof during the blast, FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said. Fahy was directing traffic away from the area at the time.

"We lost a hero today," Nigro said, describing Fahy as a "rising star" in the department and a "brave man."

Fahy, assigned to the 19th battalion, leaves behind a wife and three children, ages 6, 8 and 11.

"It's a very sad day for our city," Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news conference.

At least 12 other people were injured during the explosion, including six police officers, two civilians, two ConEd workers, and several firefighters, Nigro said.

Emergency responders had been on scene for about an hour, and working to evacuate nearby homes when the blast occured.

The cause of the explosion remains unclear — fire officials initially described it as a gas leak, and later, detectives on scene said emergency responders had seen what appeared to be a possible meth lab inside the home.

Police were investigating a possible marijuana grow house on the block weeks before the explosion, NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill said at the afternoon press conference.

Additional details on the possible cause of the blast were not discussed, and Nigro said initial reports that it was a gas explosion may have been wrong.