Tom Brady, the New England Patriots superstar quarterback, lives with his family just four doors down from the building in Boston's Back Bay where on Wednesday a fast-moving fire claimed the lives of two Boston firefighters and injured 13 others, as well as hurting five other first responders. Brady witnessed the fire from his own brownstone residence and called in to a Boston radio station Thursday morning to express his "gratitude and thanks" for the "bravery, the teamwork" displayed by the Boston firefighters.
The Back Bay is an upscale neighborhood of Boston, with blocks of multimillion dollar brownstone dwellings lining idyllic streets extending eastward from the Boston Common. It is also home to the high-end Newbury Street and Copley square shopping areas, as well as Boston's two tallest skyscrapers, the Prudential and John Hancock buildings.
In an emotional and eloquent Thursday morning phone call to sports radio station WEEI in Boston, Tom Brady said that he has long resided in the Back Bay, but Wednesday was the "scariest day" he's experienced there.
"At one point, I saw a pretty big explosion of flames and a lot of the firemen were coming out of the building, and that's when I really got nervous," described Brady, who said he told his wife, supermodel Gisele Bundchen, that they needed to vacate the home until the situation stabilized. The Tom Brady clan then relocated to the home of a friend nearby.
"It was a very intense day of weather and wind. You just can't imagine all those things that really happened, how quickly those things can get out of control," Brady continued. "I have a newfound respect for nature and what it's all about, and under those conditions for those men to try to put out the fire in freezing conditions and all the different elements they had to deal with. There's no way to prepare for things like that."
Despite the close proximity of the blazing building to his own home, Tom Brady and his family never felt endangered, the future Hall of Fame quarterback said.
"Our lives were never in jeopardy at all, thanks to those men," Brady said. "I had a firsthand view of all the action and was just blown away by the bravery, the teamwork that they displayed."
Brady earlier posted a message to his Facebook page, expressing his gratitude to the fallen firefighters. Lt. Edward J. Walsh Jr. and Firefighter Michael R. Kennedy were both killed when they were trapped in the flame-engulfed basement of the burning brownstone.
"I feel so badly for the families of the two firefighters that were lost and obviously all the men that were fighting that fire yesterday losing their close friends," said Tom Brady. We as athletes think we're heroes, but when you witness firsthand what we saw yesterday, you realize who the real heroes are in this world. It's the people that work hard to protect our lives and protect our safety, certainly the firefighters and Boston police and the state troopers. I just want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart."
Listen the the entire Tom Brady account of the tragic Boston fire, courtesy of WEEI, below."