A Boston fire described by the city’s deputy fire chief as “like a blowtorch” killed two Boston firefighters, one of them the father of three, and injured 18 other first responders including 13 more firefighters. The fire started in the basement of a brownstone at 298 Beacon Street in Boston’s high-end Back Bay neighborhood.
The two firefighters who died were apparently trapped in the basement as the Boston fire became extremely intense.
“They weren’t in the building more than two or three minutes when they ordered a Mayday, that they were trapped,” said Deputy Boston Fire Chief Joe Finn.
Lt. Edward J. Walsh of West Roxbury, Masschusetts, 43 years old and the father of three children all under 10 died in the blaze along with U.S. Marine Corps veteran Michael Kennedy, 33, of Hyde Park. Both firefighters were reportedly among the first on the scene of the fast moving inferno.
At one stage, the Boston fire erupted in a backdraft explosion that blew several firefighters down a staircase. The fire was “blowing like a blowtorch out the front, from the rear to the front,” said Finn. “In 30 years, I’ve never seen a fire travel that fast.”
The Boston fire quickly grew to a nine-alarm call.
Firefighters outside the building knew that Walsh was trapped in the building but could not get inside to extract him due to the intensity of the fire, which Finn said was a “tough call,” but one that had to be made, or else more Boston firefighters might have been lost.
“We lost two heroes here today,” Martin Walsh, the Mayor of Boston, said. “Today is just a sad day in the city of Boston.”
“Two great firefighters. All those firefighters that worked there today—people were saved for their actions that they did in this fire today. Citizens were saved,” said President of the Firefighters Local Union 718 Richard Paris, who said he knew both deceased men on a personal basis.
Another observer at the scene was New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady who once owned a $9 million condominium just a few doors down from the site of Wednesday’s Boston fire. He was back in the neighborhood apparently scouting rentals, as a new family home is under construction in neighboring Brookline.
Clearly affected by the scene, Brady later posted a statement to his Facebook wall.
“On behalf of my entire family, I want to extend my deepest sympathies and condolences to the Boston Fire Department and the families of our brave and selfless firefighters who gave their lives for our protection and safety today, and to the entire firefighting community who protect us each and every day. All of you will be in our thoughts and prayers, Brady wrote.
The cause of the deadly Boston fire remains under investigation.