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Two firefighters who died in a Boston townhouse blaze on Wednesday are being hailed as heroes. Lieutenant Edward J. Walsh and Firefighter Michael R. Kennedy were among the crews fighting a fire in a four-story townhouse in Boston's Back Bay neighborhood.
“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,” Boston Deputy Chief Joseph Finn tells The Boston Herald. “The wind was blowing in off the Charles (River), it drove the fire and combustibles and everything with it to the front of the building where two members of Engine 33 were assigned trying to make headway on the fire.”
Related: NFPA's "Firefighter Fatalities in the United States" report.
[The Boston Herald | http://bostonherald.com/news_opinion/local_coverage/2014/03/two_boston_firefighters_die_battling_back_bay_blaze] reports that the firefighters issued a mayday call just minutes after they rushed into the building's basement. Deputy Chief Finn said he believes a window in the front of the building shattered and the wind pushed the fire toward them.
In 1972, Boston experienced its worst firefighter loss just a few blocks from yesterday's fatal blaze. The Hotel Vendome fire killed nine Boston firefighters; a memorial near the site of that fire commemorates the loss.