(Wednesday March 26, 2014 // Story Via The Boston Globe // Photo Left: Memorial Flag Flies at Lakewood Station 1 Behind 9/11 Memorial)
Two Boston firefighters died Wednesday while battling a wind-whipped blaze that tore through a Back Bay apartment building, causing a fiery explosion that sent people screaming into the streets and trapped the firefighters in the basement, where they desperately called for help as their water ran low.
Fanned by winds gusting up to 45 miles an hour, the nine-alarm fire blasted up from the basement of the four-story apartment building, triggering a powerful burst that ultimately took the lives of Lieutenant Edward J. Walsh Jr. and Firefighter Michael R. Kennedy, despite frantic attempts to save them.
“The fire escalated very quickly,” Deputy Fire Chief Joseph Finn said at a press briefing Wednesday night. “In 30 years, I’ve never seen a fire travel that fast, escalate that quickly, and cause such havoc.”
Fire officials knew that Walsh remained in the building but could not get to him as the fire raged, Finn said, calling it a “tough call” but a necessary one.
Walsh, who had been on the force for more than nine years, was taken out of the building on a stretcher through a line of firefighters who stood at attention.
“Everyone saluted him, and Eddie was taken for his last ride,” said Steve MacDonald, a Boston Fire Department spokesman.
Kennedy was pulled from the basement about a half-hour after the fire broke out and was rushed to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Thirteen other firefighters were injured, some with burns and broken bones. Their injuries were not believed to be life-threatening.
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**(Photo Credits: The Boston Herald / Boston Magazine)