FORDHAM - Firefighters are mourning the death of an FDNY battalion chief who died responding to a reported gas leak Tuesday morning.

Michael Fahy, 44, spent more than four years with Battalion 19 on Walton Avenue in Fordham. He died after being struck in the head by debris in an explosion at the scene of the gas leak. At least 20 other people were injured.

Firefighters who knew Fahy say he dedicated his life to serving the community. 

"He was a brave man," says FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro. "It's a terrible loss for the Fahy family. It's a loss for the fire department family."

In all, Fahy served 17 years in the FDNY. He began his career in Harlem, where he worked for five years. He also served as a lieutenant in Mott Haven for more than three years. He received a promotion to captain and worked in the Lower East Side for about five years.

Fahy lived in Yonkers and was a father of three. He also spent time as a lawyer.

Flags were lowered to half-staff in his memory.

Fahy's father was also a fire chief.