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Family Of Fallen FDNY Deputy Chief Michael Fahy Pays It Forward

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The widow of one of New York's Bravest has made a hero's gesture.

FDNY Deputy Chief Michael Fahy, 44, was killed in a house explosion in the Bronx last week.

The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation was going to pay off the mortgage on Fahy's family home as it has for the families of other fallen first responders.

But Fiona Fahy refused the offer Thursday, instead asking that the generosity be directed elsewhere.

As CBS2's Jessica Moore reported, Fahy has decided to use her tremendous loss as an opportunity to ease the pain for other grieving families across the country.

"I stand here as someone who can say it helps me on some level to know Mike's sacrifice is appreciated," she said.

Fahy fought back tears inside of her husband's Bronx firehouse as she spoke about him for the first time since his funeral.

"If you have to have the worst day of your life, to know that other people appreciated his sacrifice was really powerful for us," she said. "The loss of Mike is a nearly unbearable tragedy, but the love and support of friends and strangers alike has kept us standing this week."

She said just a few days before he died, she and her husband watched a documentary about the foundation's home building program for wounded veterans.

And that's where she wants the money to go.

"There are veterans coming home who have sacrificed just as much as my husband did and maybe are not having 10,000 people come to their funeral," she said. "I'm not saying that that's even possible, but let's do something to make sure that the people who are sacrificing for us every day are getting as much support as they possibly can and that's where we'd like to direct 100 percent of our support."

The program has built 56 homes so far around the country.

After making her announcement, Fahy was given a warm embrace by someone who understands her devastation. Jackie Sanford's husband Joseph died after fighting a fire on Long Island.

"Nothing she's feeling is weird or strange. Sometimes it helps to have someone who has been where you are," Sanford said.

"Mike really was an incredible person and I just need to protect his legacy and make sure my children and the world know who he was," she said.

Two men have been charged in connection with the deadly explosion. Julio Salcedo Contrer and Garivaldi Castillo are accused of felony marijuana possession. Investigators believe they are part of a drug operation that was run out of the home.

Meanwhile, a donation page has been set for the Fahy family. If you'd like to donate, visit and select the "Chief Michael J. Fahy Children's Educational Fund."

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