BOSTON (CBS/AP) — A 9-alarm fire on Beacon Street has claimed the lives of two Boston firefighters. The fire broke out around 2:30 p.m. at 298 Beacon Street.
The firefighters who died have been identified as 43-year-old Lt. Ed Walsh and 33-year-old Firefighter Michael Kennedy of Engine 33. Both firefighters were stationed at 941 Boylston Street.
Lt. Walsh, of West Roxbury, was married and a father of three young children, two boys and one girl. He has been with the Boston Fire Department for nine and a half years.
Firefighter Michael Kennedy, of Hyde Park, is a Marine veteran and has been with the Boston Fire Department for six years.
“Today is a sad day in the city of Boston,” Mayor Walsh said Wednesday night. “We lost two heroes here today. It makes me proud to be the mayor of the city of Boston watching the way the men and women of the Boston Fire Department worked today.”
Thirteen other firefighters were injured. Several of the patients were taken to Brigham and Women’s and Massachusetts General Hospital. Beth Israel Hospital tells WBZ they are caring for seven patients, six of those patients are listed in “good” condition and one in “fair.”
Watch: Engine 33 Escorts Lt. Walsh
Deputy Chief Joseph Finn says firefighters rescued several people who were trapped on the top floors, and high winds made the fire difficult to fight. “In 30 years I have never seen a fire travel that fast, escalate that quickly and create such havoc in such a short period of time,” Finn said.
The building is a 4-story brownstone and the fire is believed to have started in the basement and extended up through the building. No residents of the building have been reported missing, according to authorities.
Finn said Walsh and Kennedy had gone down inside stairs into the basement, and he assumed that a front window broke out and blew the fire back at them. They called a mayday within two or three minutes of entering the building. Kennedy was found about 30 minutes later and was pulled from the building but was pronounced dead at a hospital. Walsh’s body was recovered later.
Some of the other firefighters were injured when they were blown down stairs by a backdraft explosion caused by the wind, Finn said.
“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,” Governor Deval Patrick said 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.”
A memorial was growing outside Engine 33 on Boylston Street Wednesday night. Dozens of members of the International Association of Firefighters, who just happened to be in town for a conference, held a moment of silence outside the station.
WBZ-TV’s Bobby Sisk reports
Firefighters were still at the scene of the Beacon Street fire late Wednesday night. The building, which is assessed at $1,628,500, is a total loss.
The Suffolk County District Attorney’s office is investigating the fire.
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