Wednesday, March 26, 2014

At Least Two Boston Firefighters Killed Battling 9-Alarm Back Bay Blaze

Two Boston firefighters were killed in the line of duty and at least 13 more were injured on Wednesday while fighting a 9-alarm fire in a Beacon Street brownstone. The fire started in the basement of the building but quickly burned all the way up through the roof, although the building's residents were able to evacuate in time using the fire escape. Officials with the Boston Fire Department believe the blaze spread as quickly as it did due to abnormally strong winds coming off the Charles River on Wednesday afternoon.

One woman who lived in the building and was home when the fire started said, "I was in the apartment and I heard shouting and yelling and the people that were in the building next door were going down the fire escape and two seconds later, the firemen were there. So I looked out the window and I saw the smoke and I was like I gotta get out of here so I grabbed my laptops and this box and I left. And then, as I was leaving the smoke was coming into the building, into the apartment and the firemen were there yelling, 'Everybody get out.'"

She was on the second floor of the building when the fire started. Once out of the building, she saw smoke and people throwing suitcases out of the windows.

Another man, who was on the first floor of the building when the fire started, said, "I saw the smoke start coming up, I saw people climbing down from the top floor. The fire and police were there almost right away. There was a lot of smoke, there was a small explosion at the beginning of the fire, and it just got worse and worse."

The cause of the blaze hasn't been determined yet, but a Boston Fire Department spokesman identified the two firefighters who were killed as Lt Ed Walsh and fireman Michael Kennedy. Walsh, 43, had been with the department for nearly a decade and was married with three children. Kennedy was a 33 year old combat veteran in the Marine Corps and resided in Hyde Park. Both firemen were with Engine 33- Kennedy was pulled alive from the building but later died at Massachusetts General Hospital while Walsh was found in the basement of the building.

Wednesday's fire is the deadliest fire in Boston since the 1972 Vendome Hotel Fire along Commonwealth Ave killed nine firemen when a portion of the hotel collapsed on the men and their truck.

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