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A spare commemoration of fatal Beacon Street fire

The Boston Globe

A fire hydrant in front of the Boylston Street firehouse that was home to the late firefighters Edward J. Walsh Jr. and Michael R. Kennedy. Sunday was the third anniversary of their deaths in a nine-alarm fire on Beacon Street.

By Globe Staff 

As a raw mist shrouded Back Bay, a line of Boston firefighters stood silently Sunday outside the rebuilt brick rowhouse at 298 Beacon St. A wreath of red roses affixed to the building bore the words: “Never Forgotten.”

At exactly 2:42 p.m., firefighters offered a stiff salute, holding their right hands to their helmets for 30 long seconds.

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It commemorated the moment of dispatch exactly three years ago when Engine 33 and Ladder 15 roared to the scene of what would become a deadly nine-alarm fire.

Wind howling off the Charles River fanned the flames and trapped firefighters in the basement. The blaze killed Lieutenant Edward J. Walsh Jr., 43, and Firefighter Michael R. Kennedy, 33.

The commemoration Sunday was spare. There were no bagpipes. No speeches. A column of firefighters came from the firehouse at Boylston and Dalton streets.

Engine 33 and Ladder 15 double-parked on Beacon Street. A call went out of the fire dispatch for a moment of silence. Firefighters stood in the street in a single-file line and saluted.

Pedestrians on the sidewalk stopped and some bowed their heads. After the ceremony, firefighters climbed back on their apparatus and returned to work.

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“We don’t forget those killed in the line of duty,” said a department spokesman, Steve MacDonald.

Boston Fire Department

Firefighters saluted at the site of the fatal blaze.

Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

Firefighter Eric Evans (right) drove Engine 33 to the scene of the March 26, 2014, fire.

Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

Engine 33 left for a call on the anniversary of the Beacon Street fire.


Andrew Ryan can be reached at acryan@globe.com
Follow him on Twitter @globeandrewryan.