Boston was in mourning Thursday after a rare nine-alarm fire in the city’s historic Back Bay area killed two firefighters who had called for help from the basement of the blaze after a shattered window appeared to cause the fire to blow back on them, officials said.
Thirteen other firefighters were injured, most with burns, along with several police officers in fighting Wednesday’s fast-moving blaze, officials said. The exact number of firefighters still hospitalized was not immediately known, officials said.
Condolences poured in to the Boston Fire Department’s Twitter feed. The tributes of sympathy joined prominent Boston officials, including Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley, who offered prayers “for God’s gift of peace for all impacted by this devastating loss.” New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who lives in the Back Bay, extended his “deepest sympathies and condolences” on Facebook to the fire department and families “of our brave and selfless firefighters who gave their lives for our protection and safety today.”
“Today’s a sad day for the city of Boston,” Mayor Martin J. Walsh said Wednesday. “We lost two heroes here today.”
The dead firefighters were identified as Lt. Edward J. Walsh, a 43-year-old father of three who had almost a decade of experience, and firefighter Michael R. Kennedy, a 33-year-old Marine Corps combat veteran who had been a firefighter for more than six years.
“In 30 years, I’ve never seen a fire travel that fast, escalate that quickly and create such havoc in such a short period of time,” Deputy Fire Chief Joseph Finn told reporters at the scene on Wednesday during a televised news conference.