Lt. Ed Walsh of Engine 33 and firefighter Michael Kennedy of Ladder 15 died this afternoon in the basement of a Beacon Street building they had rushed into to help save residents trapped on topped floors, fire officials said at a press conference tonight.
"It's a sad day for the city of Boston," Mayor Walsh said. "We lost 2 heroes here today."
Deputy Chief Joseph Finn said the two firefighters raced down into the basement, where the fire at 298 Beacon St. originated. Finn said the current thinking is that a window blew out and "threw the fire at them." He added that several of the 13 other firefighters injured in the fire suffered burns due to the "backdraft explosion."
Finn said strong winds likely contributed to the problems. He said in his 33 years as a firefighter, he had never seen a fire spread so fast.
He added that Walsh's body was not recovered from the basement until about 7:30 p.m. - the building was in such precarious condition, it was risky for firefighters to try to get him.
Finn said Walsh, 43, who leaves three children under the age of 10, lived in West Roxbury, while Kennedy, 33, a Marine Corps veteran, lived in Hyde Park.
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