(BOSTON) — Two Boston firefighters were killed and another 13 were injured Wednesday while battling a nine-alarm blaze near downtown, according to city officials.
High winds whipped up the flames so fast that fire officials say the two deceased, identified as Lt. Edward Walsh and firefighter Michael Kennedy, became trapped within minutes of entering the building’s basement.
During a late news conference, Deputy Fire Chief Joseph Finn, the incident commander, said it’s the worst fire he’s seen in three decades on the force.
“That fire was, from the front, was blowing like a blowtorch out the front,” he said Wednesday.
“It’s very tough, I mean, again, 30 years of experience I’ve never seen a thing escalate so fast, I mean so quickly and have people trapped that fast,” he added.
Finn described the injuries of the other firefighters, saying there were some burns and “muscular skeletal injuries” from the explosion he referred to as a “backdraft.”
The fallen firefighters had entered the basement to search for survivors, when they were suddenly trapped by the flames, Finn said during Wednesday’s news conference.
Acknowledging that the city had “lost two heroes” Wednesday, Boston Mayor Martin Walsh called it a sad day, but he expressed his pride in the work of the Boston Fire Department.
“It makes me proud to be mayor of the City of Boston after watching the way that the men and women of the Boston Fire Department worked today,” Mayor Walsh said Wednesday.
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