BOSTON (CBS) – At Mass General Hospital Wednesday night, dozens of Boston firefighters strolled in solemnly by foot – others arrived by bus – to pay their respects to a fallen brother.
Michael “Mike” Kennedy was rushed to that hospital from the scene of a 9-alarm fire on Beacon Street, in hopes his life could be saved.
Kennedy was assigned to Ladder 15, located just blocks from the fire that ultimately claimed his life. He was among the first two companies to arrive on the scene, and quickly made his way into the basement of the building alongside Lieutenant Eddie Walsh.
“Two heroes ran into a burning building,” Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said.
But two of the first in, did not make it out.
Within three minutes, the pair put out a mayday call. Deputy Fire Chief Joseph Finn later speculated that a basement window broke, blowing the fire back at the men, trapping them.
“Their aggressive action helped… so we could get the rest of the occupants out of the upper floors,” Finn said.
“People were saved for their actions at this fire today,” said firefighter union president Richard Park. “Citizens were saved.”
Mike Kennedy had been with the Boston Fire Department for six and a half years. The 33-year-old Marine combat veteran served in Iraq and lived in Hyde Park; he was not married.
Kennedy was a fitness and Crossfit enthusiast. He was also very involved in the fire department’s burn foundation, which helps raise money for burn victims.
Last April, Kennedy was a first responder to the scene of the Boston Marathon bombings. After that experience, he was moved to write an essay in order to earn a bib for this year’s marathon; he had been training with some of his colleagues.
Giving back was a huge part of Kennedy’s life. For the last seven years, he volunteered as a Big Brother to 14-year-old Alex Beauzile. “He told me that he loved me,” Alex said. “And I told him that I loved him too.”
Alex says Kennedy inspired him. “I told him that since he’s a fireman I want to be a police officer so one day we will be working side by side,” Alex said.
Kennedy sought to work in one of the busiest firehouses in the city “That’s by choice; they want to be there,” Boston Fire Department spokesman Steve McDonald said. It’s “one of the most sought after positions in the city.”
“Two great firefighters,” Park reflected. “My heart goes out to the families; please keep them in your prayers.”
Thursday night, Kennedy’s body was escorted behind his own Ladder 15 seven miles to a West Roxbury funeral home. First responders and the public lined the route to show their respect for the fallen firefighter.
A Lieutenant Walsh – Firefighter Kennedy Memorial Fund has been established.
Donations will be accepted by mail by sending a check to:
Lieutenant Walsh – Firefighter Kennedy Memorial Fund
Boston Firefighters Credit Union
60 Hallet Street
Dorchester, MA 02124
Credit card donations will also be accepted on BOSFIRECU.COM
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