A lack of training to fight a wind-driven fire, the lack of a sprinkler system, inadequate staffing, and an inadequate assessment of risk were factors in the deaths of two Boston firefighters in a 2014 blaze that tore through a Back Bay brownstone, according to a federal report.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health released a 77-page report —and the Boston Fire Department released its own findings — detailing the events that led to Lt. Edward Walsh and firefighter Michael Kennedy being trapped in the home’s basement.
The heat from the fire burned through their line of hose, the BPFD report said, leaving them in the inferno downstairs as water flowed freely from the severed end of the horse in the four-story home’s first floor hallway at the top of the stairs.
“Despite valiant and heroic attempts to enter and rescue LT Walsh and FF Kennedy from the front of the building, Firefighters were repeatedly forced to back out of the building by the extreme temperatures of the superheated smoke violently exiting through all openings in the front of the building,” the Boston report said.
The heat inside the home was so intense, all of the firefighters suffered first and second degree burns to their ears and exposed skin despite taking just seconds to travel the 20 feet out the front stairway, the local report also stated.