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Firefighter with Watertown Roots Dies in Back Bay Blaze

Lt. Ed Walsh was killed fighting a huge blaze at 298 Beacon St.

Ed Walsh. Credit: City of Boston website
Ed Walsh. Credit: City of Boston website
One of the two firefighters killed in a huge blaze in Back Bay Wednesday was Lt. Ed Walsh, the son of a Watertown firefighter.

"It's a tragic day," Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said in a news conference just after 8 p.m.

The other fallen firefighter was Michael Kennedy.

The nine-alarm blaze broke out at about 2:45 p.m. in the basement of 298 Beacon St. Firefighters were still at the scene bringing it under control as of 8 p.m.

Walsh, 43, of West Roxbury, served on Engine Company 33. He was married and had three children all under the age of 10.

His father and uncle, now deceased, served on the Watertown Fire Department. His cousin, Tom, is currently a captain there, according to the Boston Fire Department.

Kennedy, 33, of Hyde Park, served on Ladder Company 15. He was single and served in the Marine Corps.

Walsh was pronounced dead at the scene, while Kennedy was pronounced dead at Mass General Hospital.

Thirteen firefighters and several police officers were also injured in the blaze. Their injuries ranged from burns to broken bones, according to Deputy Fire Chief Joe Finn.

Finn said he's never seen a fire travel so fast.

"(It) was blowing like a blowtorch," he said at the news conference, adding high winds of up to 50 mph during the day stoked the flames.

Finn said firefighters saved a bunch of people inside.

He said there was no initial evidence of arson.

Gov. Deval Patrick released this statement:
“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. 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.”

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GB March 27, 2014 at 11:24 AM
I am very familiar with that firehouse on Boylston St. In the mid-1980's, I spent 3 months working at the Channel 68 transmitter on the sky walk level of the Pru and used to watch those companies go out to fire calls in the neighborhood. So often we take those heroes for granted, forgetting that they are on call and ready for any emergency that comes up 24 hours a day.

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