Colleagues lined roads and saluted as the remains of FDNY Battalion Chief Michael Fahy left the medical examiner's office in lower Manhattan Wednesday, a day after he was killed in the line of duty.
The escort headed to a funeral home in Westchester County, where mass for the father of three is expected to be held Saturday at Annunciation Church, not far from his Yonkers home. The wake is being held at Flower Funeral Home Thursday and Friday.
At Fahy's home away from home — Battalion 19, Engine Company 75, Ladder Company 33 in the University Heights section of the Bronx — the long goodbye was already underway. Firefighters and police stood at attention as three firefighters draped purple and black bunting in Fahy's honor Wednesday morning.
"He was a great family man, took care of his wife, his kids, coached his kids' teams," said FDNY Battalion 19 Commander Brian Fink. "But most of all, he was a good friend to all of us. And we're all going to miss him."
The 17-year veteran who served through 9/11 was killed as debris rained down following a Bronx home explosion Tuesday morning, the site of a suspected drug lab. A man who rented the West 234th Street home was detained in New Jersey later that night and was being questioned.
Along with being a dedicated public servant, Fahy was also a scholar: he had a doctorate from New York Law School, got his undergraduate degree from Binghamton University in 1994 and his master's degree at the Center for Homeland Defense and Security's Naval Postgraduate School, according to education records.
"Mike was a fantastic student and even more fantastic human being," said Nadine Strossen, a professor at New York Law School, where Fahy earned a law degree and helped to establish a fellowship that continues to provide free legal service for those in need.
"The idea of voluntarily putting your life on the line as Michael chose to do is something I am absolutely in awe of," she said.
FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro told reporters Tuesday that Fahy was a rising star in the department, adding that he knew Fahy's father — a former fire chief himself — personally.
"It's a sad day. Thankfully, this doesn't happen every day, but when it does, it doesn't make it any easier. We lost a hero today," Nigro said.
He lived in Yonkers with his wife and 6- and 11-year-old sons and 8-year-old daughter. Fahy joined the FDNY in 1999 and rose to the rank of battalion chief in 2012.
Mayor de Blasio ordered all flags on city buildings to be flown at half-staff each day from sunrise to sunset until Fahy is buried.
"Our hearts go out to the Fahy family — a family so devoted to this city," de Blasio said in a statement Tuesday. "Michael's father — a fire chief before him. A family that has given so much and today made the ultimate sacrifice to this city."
The FDNY Foundation started a fund for Fahy's family.