A FDNY battalion commander was killed and several others – including six policemen and nine other firefighters – were injured when a drug lab inside a Bronx house exploded early Tuesday, officials and sources said.
Mayor de Blasio identified as the principal Michael Fahey, a member of 17 years of the Fire Department.
“He was a devoted father of three to one good man,” a somber de Blasio said in a press conference, in which he said he had spoken to the wife of a firefighter and his parents in Columbia Presbyterian Hospital.
Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said Fahey was struck in the head and other parts of his body when the private building exploded, flinging part of the roof onto him.
“He was a rising star,” Nigro said about the chief from the 19th Battalion in The Bronx.
Firefighters responded to the house at 300 W. 234th St. near the corner of Tibbett Avenue in Kingsbridge after someone in the neighborhood reported what they thought was a gas leak around 6:20 a.m.
But when firefighters entered the house, they found what appeared to be a homemade drug laboratory and immediately requested police.
The explosion occurred around 7:30 a.m. as cops and firefighters were walking in and out of the home after evacuating it.
Cops and firefighters were waiting outside for a Con Ed crew to arrive when the house blew up, sending a large piece of the roof flying into the air and landing on the fire chief, a source told The Post.
Fahey was rushed to the hospital in a police car after firefighters removed the debris, the source said.
Two civilians and two Con Ed workers also were hurt, Nigro said. All of the injuries were considered minor, he said.
Neighbors described the frantic moments after the deafening blast.
Maureen Murphy, 45, said she was frightened by the noise.
“When I came out of my house this morning I got really scared. The police, the fire department, everybody was rushing in here,” said Murphy, who works with special-needs kids.
“I live about three blocks away and I heard the explosion — it was loud, my windows shook. It was so close. I didn’t know if it was my building or not. That’s how loud it was. … My daughter came running and said, ‘Oh my God! Mom, what happened?’”
Her daughter was particularly on edge because she works near the scene of the recent bombing on West 23rd Street in Chelsea.
Another resident who lives a couple of blocks from the blast site said she was doing her dishes when the whole neighborhood was rattled.
“There was a huge boom, the whole building shook. My dogs got scared. They were freaking out. The police station is right across the street,” said Jennifer Mullane, 32, a physical therapist assistant. “And I really knew something was wrong when all of the cops started running. There was a lot of smoke and ashes were coming down.”
Shortly after the explosion, Jay Soto, 57, told The Post: “Everyone came out and asked, ‘What was that?’ I could see that it was serious. There are many ambulances and firetrucks. I saw black smoke.”