Two Boston Firefighters Killed in Nine-Alarm Fire
Two Boston firefighters were killed battling a nine-alarm fire in a four story building on Beacon and Exeter Street yesterday.
Initial calls of the fire came in around 2:45 p.m. Shortly after arrival, mayday calls went out, the fire extended to its 9th alarm, and responders were ordered to evacuate the building.
In the basement, firefighters could be heard over radio asking for a “charged line,” or more water. Just seconds later, one firefighter sent out the mayday call: “Mayday! Engine 33 has a mayday!” Later adding, “It’s getting hot down here.”
Personnel were able to pull Firefighter Michael R. Kennedy from the scene minutes after. They performed emergency CPR and rushed him to the hospital. The 33-year-old USMC Veteran and was pronounced dead at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Nine year veteran of the Boston Fire Department, Lieutenant Edward J. Walsh, Jr. was found at 7:45 p.m. and was pronounced dead on the scene.
Heavy smoke could be seen as far as the Longfellow Bridge and across the river in Cambridge. Strong wind fueled the flames, which made it hard for firefighters to control the blaze.
“In 30 years, I’ve never seen a fire travel that fast, escalate that quickly, and create such havoc in such a short period of time,” said Boston Fire Department Deputy Chief, Joseph Finn.
Almost immediately, Boston and Mass State Police had the area cordoned off to anyone but responders. Residents of Beacon Street were turned away while emergency personnel fought the fire.
By about 4:00 p.m., the flames began to extend through the roof of the building. Smoke and ash layered the surrounding streets. Just when firefighters seemed to have the flames under control, the fire reignited just before 7:00 pm.
Around 10:30 p.m., firefighters regained the upper hand. Heavy smoke lingered in the air, but for the most part, the flames were out and companies began to disband.
Though the fire was under control, the scene was a very dreary one, as news of the killed firefighters had spread. A solemn Fire District Supervisor walked to his SUV and left the scene. Members of the Fire Department consoled one another on Beacon Street. A member of the Boston Police Department answered a civilian’s questions with only simple answers.
“Words cannot do justice to the grief that we feel tonight,” said Boston Mayor Marty Walsh during a press conference. “Our hearts are heavy with the knowledge that these brave men gave their lives to protect the safety of our city and its people. The men and women of the Boston Fire Department are the brave heroes who run towards the danger when others run away… They put themselves in harm’s way so that others might be safe.”
Thirteen firefighters were injured in the fire.
Killed in the line of duty were Lieutenant Walsh, 43, of Engine Company 33. He was married with three children, all under the age of 10. He was a 9 1/2 year Veteran of the Boston Fire Department.
Firefighter Kennedy, 33, of Ladder Company 15, was a Veteran of the United States Marine Corps, he was a 6 1/2 year Veteran of the Boston Fire Department.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
Check out video footage of the fire here: