KINGSBRIDGE, N.Y. --A New York City Fire Department battalion chief was killed and 20 other people were injured Tuesday morning in an explosion and fire at a house in the Bronx after what appeared to be a drug lab was discovered.
It happened inside a two-story house on West 234th Street in the Kingsbridge section just after 7:30 a.m.
Battalion Chief Michael Fahy, a 17-year-veteran with Battalion 19 in the Bronx, was evacuating the house at the time and was struck by debris from the explosion.
He was rushed to New York Presbyterian Hospital-Allen Pavilion, but died.
PHOTOS: Explosion in the Bronx
"He was a star, a brave man," FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said of Fahy, a married father of three.
"It's a terrible loss for the Fahy family, a loss for the fire department family," said Nigro. "We feel it deeply today."
Nine firefighters sustained non-life-threatening injuries. Also injured were six police officers, three utility workers and two civilians.
At 6:22 a.m., firefighters responded to a gas leak in the house. An illegal drug lab was discovered and police were called to the scene.
Police said it wasn't immediately clear what caused the blast that killed Fahy.
"Our members were investigating an odor of gas, he was directing operations," said Nigro. "They evacuated the surrounding buildings, got everyone else out of the way, when the explosion occurred."
The single-family house was partially destroyed and the explosion rocked an area of row houses in Kingsbridge.
Police Commissioner James O'Neill said part of the investigation would involve looking into the location as a possible marijuana "grow house."