BOSTON (CBS) — Boston’s safety officials called it the end of a painful chapter. They’re talking about the Suffolk District Attorney’s decision not to press criminal charges against the welders who accidentally started a deadly fire on Beacon Street more than a year ago.
“It doesn’t take back the lives of our firefighters,” said Mayor Marty Walsh.
The announcement did bring the tragedy back into focus one day after a team of runners raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in honor of one of the men killed in the fire, Firefighter Michael Kennedy. He was a marathoner who would have run Boston last year, had he not been trapped in the fire one month earlier, along with Fire Lt. Ed Walsh.
The Malden-based D & J Ironworks welders didn’t have a permit when they were installing railings, and accidentally threw off a spark. It combined with gale-force wind to fuel an inferno through the brownstone.
“There was no intent,” said Boston Fire Commissioner Joseph Finn. “They actually did try to call 911. They did try to extinguish the fire.”
District Attorney Dan Conley sent out a statement with the announcement. “The investigation revealed actions that were irresponsible and even careless, but not willful, wanton, and reckless as our courts have defined those terms.”
OSHA fined D & J Ironworks $58,000 for 10 violations after the fire. The State Fire Marshal and Boston Firefighters Union are now pushing for tougher state laws around permitting for metal work, and punishments for violations.