The firefighters of Boston’s Engine 33 draped black bunting beneath an American flag lowered to half-mast outside their firehouse on Boylston Street today, honoring their two fallen comrades, as passersby stopped to leave flowers, cards, and crosses, and to bow their heads in prayer.
“I’ve had a knot in my stomach since yesterday,” said Matt Davis, 34, a North Andover firefighter who came to the station to lay flowers and pay his respects. “I’m sure firefighters around the state, around the country, are feeling the same way right now.”
Firefighter Michael R. Kennedy and Lieutenant Edward J. Walsh Jr. were killed Wednesday when a nine-alarm fire swept through an eight-unit apartment building at 298 Beacon St. in the Back Bay. The men were trapped in the basement, where, officials say, the blaze likely started. Strong winds apparently stoked the flames, triggering an explosion that ultimately claimed the men’s lives and injured 13 of their colleagues, officials have said.
The cause of the fire is being actively investigated, but officials have said it did not appear to be suspicious.
“People, they have a bad day at their job, they get to go home,” said Davis. “These guys, they have a bad day, they don’t get to go home.”
Michael Rose, 33, stopped outside the station during his run to pray. His uncle is a firefighter, he said, and his mother, this morning, sent him a picture of himself crossing the Boston Marathon finish line last year, with Engine 33 in the background.
“I was just offering a prayer to the fallen,” he said. “Definitely heroes.”
Passersby said they often see Engine 33 firefighters outside their station, waving and chatting with passersby.
“This is our station,” said Erin Defuria, who dropped two yellow roses outside the door before heading to work.Evan Allen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @evanmallen.