Scores of firefighters honored a battalion chief Wednesday killed in a Bronx building explosion — hailing him as the latest in a long line of heroes who died so other New Yorkers could live.
Mayor de Blasio assured the widow of Battalion Chief Michael Fahy and her three young children that the city appreciated his sacrifice during a somber ceremony at the Firemen’s Memorial on Riverside Drive.
A sea of uniformed firefighters — about 7,000 in attendance — stood before the memorial inscribed with words honoring the “soldiers in a war that never ends.”
“We can only begin to understand the pain that you’ve been through,” de Blasio told the crowd. “We are here in front of an image on the memorial behind us — an image of a horse-drawn carriage — that reminds us that this extraordinary department has been saving lives of New Yorkers for 151 years.”
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The mayor said the FDNY’s tradition of selfless sacrifice was evident in rescues by New York City first responders who traveled to parts of North Carolina ravaged by Hurricane Matthew.
But Fahy — the 1,145th firefighter to perish while serving the city — received particular praise.
He was the first firefighter to die in the line of duty since 2014.
Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro, who served with Fahy’s father, praised the “rising star” in the department killed just last month.
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Fahy, 44, was struck by debris when a marijuana grow house exploded in the Bronx.
Mayor de Blasio assured the widow of Battalion Chief Michael Fahy and her three young children that the city appreciated his sacrifice.
“The FDNY family suffered greatly,” Nigro said. “That day, dozens of our members rushed to the hospital to be there, to attempt in some way to console his grieving family. We gather to mourn, to celebrate a life of service and to pledge to never forget.”
New Yorkers will support and honor Fahy’s family forever, de Blasio said.
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“This is one of the powerful traditions, one of the commitments we make — that we stand by families, we stand by every member of the family,” de Blasio said.
“We understand that your loss is deep, and great, and lasting and therefore our support for you needs to be deep, and great, and lasting.”
He and Nigro presented Fahy’s widow, Fiona Fahy, with an American flag.
“We are always strongest together. We demonstrate that we do not forget those who have passed away,” FDNY Chief of Department James Leonard said. “We never forget.”