When the firefighters from Engine 33 responded to a massive nine-fire alarm in Boston, one of the first men inside the building was Lt. Ed Walsh, 43, not far behind was US Marine vet Michael R. Kennedy, 33, both of whom were tragically killed while fighting the blaze.
According to the Boston Fire Department Twitter account, Lt. Walsh came from a long and distinguished line of men who served their community. His late father was a Lieutenant as was his late Uncle Bill, while his cousin Tom is currently a Captain, all on Watertown Fire.
Kennedy sat on the Board of the Boston Firefighters Burn Foundation, which works with burn victims and is described as very dedicated.
The four story brick building located near the river was engulfed and the winds were the likes of which Deputy Joseph Finn has not seen in his career:
“In 30 years I’ve never seen a fire travel that fast and it was wind-driven off the Charles (River),” he added.
Engine 33 was one of the first units to respond to the Boston fire on Beacon Street, where the wind from the river was blowing so strong that Finn said it had a “blowtorch” effect.
According to reports, Walsh and Kennedy got inside the building and proceeded to the heart of the fire — the basement — armed with a hose, where they met their fate and were pulled out by other firefighters later on.
The fire was so intense that within three-minutes the Boston firefighters called a “mayday” indicating that they were trapped.
The Boston Fire Department Deputy Chief says that it appears one of the windows broke creating a back draft effect that came back at the brave men. Walsh’s body was recovered nearly five-hours later by men from Engine 33.
“He was taken out the back through a line of firefighters,” Boston Fire spokesman Steve McDonald, described the scene. “Everyone saluted him and he was taken for his last ride.”
The Boston fire hero leaves behind a wife and three children under the age of 10. Kennedy was single.
Later, on Wednesday night, visibly affected Boston firefighters from Engine 33 lined up at Boston Medical Center on either side of a hearse, and walked with their lieutenant on last time as his body was brought to the morgue.
“Today’s a sad day for the city of Boston,” Mayor Martin J. Walsh said of the men who died in the fire. “We lost two heroes… these two heroes ran into a burning building and got people out of the burning building.”
In all, the Boston fire injured 18 people, including 13 firefighters. Walsh and Kennedy’s aggressive actions helped ensure the occupants of the higher floors could escape the flames, Finn said of the two fallen men.
[Image via WBUR and Boston Fire Department/Twitter]