Boston tragically lost two heroic firefighters Wednesday in a 9-alarm fire that blazed through a brownstone at 298 Beacon Street in the Back Bay. Lieutenant Ed Walsh, pictured on the right above, and firefighter Michael Kennedy, both of Engine 33, lost their lives after making sure the building had been evacuated. The flames were extinguished late Wednesday night after first igniting in the basement at approximately 2:45 p.m. that afternoon.
Speaking on the scene around 8:00 p.m. Wednesday, Deputy Fire Chief Joseph Finn told media that in all of his 30 years working with the department, he had never seen a fire spread so quickly and inflict so much devastation. Wind gusts reportedly reached as high as 45 mph, fueling the flames and reigniting them as firefighters attempted to secure the scene.
Lt. Walsh, 43, was a resident of West Roxbury and a nine-year veteran of the force. He is survived by his wife and three children, two boys and a girl all under the age of ten. Michael Kennedy, 33, was a native to Hyde Park and a combat veteran of the U.S. Marines. He’d been with the department six years.
Both Lt. Walsh and Kennedy were in the basement of the residence for just a matter of minutes when they reportedly dispatched a “Mayday” call. They were subsequently trapped as fire officials made the difficult realization that a cease in internal operations was required for safety reasons due to the torrential nature of the inferno. Kennedy was eventually pulled from the wreckage and transported to the hospital where medical personnel were unable to do anything. Lt. Walsh’s body was recovered in the building, where upon he was taken out and, eventually, given his last ride, according to Deputy Chief Finn.
“Tonight the City of Boston mourns the loss of two of our own. Lt. Ed Walsh and Firefighter Michael Kennedy lost their lives battling the nine-alarm fire on Beacon Street today,” said Mayor Marty Walsh in a statement Wednesday. “Words cannot do justice to the grief that we feel tonight. Our hearts are heavy with the knowledge that these brave men gave their lives to protect the safety of our city and its people.”
Governor Deval Patrick also expressed his deepest sympathies, realizing the true heroics and sacrifice Lt. Walsh and Michael Kennedy made on behalf of the City of Boston.
“My heart and my condolences go out to the families of the firefighters lost in the line of duty today, as well as to the entire Boston Fire Department,” said the governor in a statement. “This terrible tragedy reinforces how we must be grateful every single day for the brave men and women who put themselves in danger day in and day out to keep us safe.”
Deputy Chief Finn noted further that 13 other firefighters were also transported to the hospital though Boston EMS reported via social media that a total of 18 patients had been taken in for treatment.
Engine 33, Ladder 15 Company is located on Boylston Street just across from the Hynes Convention Center. Passersby have since dropped of commemorative flowers and other mementos, as you’ll see in the tweet below, in remembrance of Lt. Kennedy and Michael Kennedy.
— Lawkward Lady (@LawkwardLady) March 27, 2014
Our deepest sympathies and condolences go out to the families of our fallen firefighters. Thank you to all of those who work tirelessly to keep our city safe from harm.
[image via @BostonFire]