It was a “perfect storm for tragedy.”
That’s how Boston Fire Commissioner Joseph Finn described the events of March 26, 2014, when a wind-fueled fire in a Back Bay brownstone claimed the lives of two first-responders and injured 13 others.
Finn spoke to reporters Thursday following the release of accounts delving into how the flames spread on that exceptionally windy day, how first-responders with little time to think jumped to action, and how firefighter Michael Kennedy, 33, and Lt. Edward Walsh, 43. died trapped inside after rushing in to help.
A report from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health described how doors left ajar that day let too much air flow through the Beacon Street building, fanning the flames.
It told how there were too few hydrants on a private side street, how the aging structure was not fitted with sprinklers, how staffing was inadequate for the response and how dangers like accelerants in a cabinet went unnoticed.
“Delayed notification to the fire department” was also a factor in the day’s tragic outcome, the NIOSH report said.
Firefighters’ hoses did not hold up in the intense heat inside the residence, killing water pressure and rendering them useless, the report said.
The NIOSH report recommends the department adopt new firefighting strategies for assessing how risky a fire is when first-responders arrive.
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The Boston Fire Department also released its own review of the day’s events, which describes how the building’s outdated construction style made it more vulnerable to a quickly spreading inferno.
The department also crafted recommendations, among them that firefighters receive more training on assessing danger and reacting to fires whipped by heavy winds.
The fire two years ago began when sparks from welders working nearby ignited a shed attached to the four-story apartment building, reports said.