Faulty Gas Hook Up for Marijuana Grow House Led to Blast
NEW YORK– A pair of weed heads pled guilty to manslaughter in the death of an FDNY Battalion Chief. The pair’s faulty construction of a marijuana grow house led to a massive gas explosion which killed the veteran firefighter.
Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark announced that two men have pleaded guilty to second-degree Manslaughter in the explosion in a marijuana grow house that killed FDNY Battalion Chief Michael Fahy, who had responded to a reported gas leak in the building in the Kingsbridge section of the Bronx.
Clark said, “Battalion Chief Michael Fahy spent the last moments of his life of public service saving others. He responded to a gas-infused building and ordered the residents—including one of the defendants—to leave. When the gas exploded, it blew off the slate roof and a section of it struck and killed him. These defendants today have pleaded guilty to constructing a marijuana grow house, in which they sealed the windows of the second floor, prohibiting the ventilation of leaking gas, recklessly causing the death of Chief Fahy.
“This is an extremely rare instance where someone is being held criminally responsible for conditions that caused the death of a firefighter in the line of duty in New York City.”
District Attorney Clark said the defendants, Garivaldi Castillo, 33, and Julio Salcedo, 36, pleaded guilty to second-degree Manslaughter and first-degree Criminal Possession of Marijuana before Bronx Supreme Court Justice Steven Barrett. They will be sentenced on August 17, 2018.
As part of the plea agreement, Castillo will be sentenced to two to six years in prison for the Manslaughter charge and five years on the Marijuana charge, to run concurrently. Salcedo will be sentenced to one to three years in prison for the Manslaughter charge and four years for the Marijuana charge, to run concurrently.
According to the investigation, on September 27, 2016, firefighters responded to the two-story building at 300 West 234 Street in Kingsbridge for a gas leak. They found numerous marijuana plants as well as heaters and fertilizer, allegedly maintained by Castillo and Salcedo. The windows on the 2nd floor were covered by foil panels, preventing the 2nd floor from being ventilated of the leaking gas.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney John Miras of the Homicide Bureau, under the supervision of Christine Scaccia, Chief of the Homicide Bureau, and the overall supervision of Theresa Gottlieb, Chief of the Trial Division.
District Attorney Clark thanked NYPD Detectives Paul Sullivan of the 50th Precinct Squad and Peter Cullen of the Special Investigations Squad, as well as FDNY Fire Marshal John Burns.