That's it... it's just what they do. While we grab our valuables, our favorite pictures, our beloved pets, and flee to safety, they run willingly into an unknown battle against a deadly foe. Their job... rescue everyone and put the fire out! Then return to the firehouse, worn and tired, maybe grab a nap, and wait for the next call. As we were reminded yesterday, that return is not always guaranteed. Yet, these men and women in boots and helmets, in towns and cities all over this country, ALWAYS jump in that rig and join that battle.
Ladder 15 and Engine 33 of the Boston Fire Department were among the first apparatus to reach 298 Beacon Street in yesterday's wind swept afternoon, a quick ride from their Boylston Street Firehouse. Lt. Ed Walsh of Engine 33 and FF Michael Kennedy of Ladder 15 raced into the basement with their brethren, where the fire was believed to have originated. Within three minutes, the men inside issued a mayday call and were ordered out. Walsh and Kennedy never made it out. They were both found trapped in that basement. Walsh, 43, leaves a wife and three children under the age of 10. Kennedy, 33, was single and a United States Marine combat veteran. In his off time, Kennedy volunteered with burn patients. Sacrifice was his way of life since he stepped on the yellow footprints at Paris Island.
It seems cliche to say about firefighters that any day they leave for work could be their last. Cliche, but true. That being said, regardless of the inherent risks, loved ones expect them to return. They have always returned. For the last 9 and a half years, Ed Walsh always came home. Mike Kennedy always came home. Last night, they did not. Walsh and Kennedy gave their lives to make their city safer. To them, and to the countless other men and women who don the helmet and boots and climb in the rig, we owe a debt of gratitude that can never be paid in full. But we can do our part.
|Heroes of the BFD say farewell to a fallen brother.|