BOSTON (AP) - Mayor Martin Walsh told hundreds gathered Friday at City Hall Plaza that it has been a tough week for the city after losing two brave firefighters who saved lives while battling the flames of an apartment fire.
Lt. Edward Walsh and Firefighter Michael Kennedy died when they became trapped in the brownstone in the Back Bay area as it burned Wednesday. Thirteen other firefighters were injured; two remained hospitalized Friday.
“Words cannot repay the debt of gratitude that we owe these men and their loved ones,” Walsh said. “Their courage will never be forgotten.”
Families of the victims bowed their heads as the red flag of the Boston Fire Department and the blue flag of the firefighters’ union were raised. Bagpipers played “Amazing Grace,” its moan heard over the silence of the crowd.
Hands were shaken and tears spilled as people offered their condolences to the victims’ families and fellow firefighters.
Fire Commissioner John Hasson said the compassion and kindness from the community has lifted the spirits of the sorrow-stricken firefighters.
An outpouring of donations, food and flowers fill the firehouse of Engine 33, Ladder 15, where the two men served. A memorial fund has been set up to support both the families.
Walsh, 43, was married with three children under age 10.
Kennedy, 33, a former Marine, was single but was a father figure for more than six years to a teenage boy through the Boys and Girls Club, said Richard Paris, president of a local firefighters’ union.
“Both families are hurting big time right now,” Paris said. “I think they are still in shock.”
Paris recognized all the first-responders who worked the nine-alarm fire.
“That day they showed how Boston continues to stay Boston strong,” Paris said.
Next week, a wake Tuesday and a funeral Mass on Wednesday will be held for Walsh at St. Patrick’s Church in the suburb of Watertown, where he grew up.
Kennedy’s wake will be Wednesday at P.E. Murray Funeral Home in the West Roxbury neighborhood. A funeral Mass for him will be Thursday at Holy Name church, also in West Roxbury.