Two firefighters were killed while responding to a nine-alarm fire at a brownstone in Boston’s densely-populated Back Bay neighborhood Wednesday.
The fire was driven by strong winds sending smoke and flames pouring from the roof and windows of the four-story building, trapping the two firefighters in the basement, from where their colleagues could not rescue them. More than 150 firefighters and between 20 and 30 trucks responded to the incident, media reports said, citing a fire department spokesperson. At least 13 other firefighters and several police officers were injured in the blaze and were taken to a hospital.
"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," Joe Finn, deputy fire chief, reportedly told the media. "That fire ... was blowing like a blowtorch out the front, from the rear to the front."
Finn identified those killed 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 with more than six years of experience as a firefighter. Finn reportedly said that firefighters were able to rescue a number of people stuck on upper floors.
"These two heroes ran into a burning building -- got people out of the building," Boston Mayor Martin Walsh reportedly said. "We lost two heroes here today."
Officials said they would investigate the incident to find the cause of the blaze.