Investigation of Back Bay fire underway

boston fire back bay fire beacon street
The Back Bay fire scene at the rear of 298 Beacon St.
Credit: Nicolaus Czarnecki/Metro

A day after two veteran Boston firefighters were killed in a Back Bay fire that destroyed a brownstone, investigators will begin their probe to determine what caused the massive blaze.

“Nothing has been ruled in or out,” Boston Fire Department Spokesman Steve MacDonald said Thursday morning.

Lt. Edward Walsh, 43, of West Roxbury, and Firefighter Michael Kennedy, 33, of Hyde Park, became trapped in the 9-alarm fire within minutes and issued a mayday call for help. They were assigned to Engine 33 and Ladder 15, the first responding units to the scene at 298 Beacon St. at about 2:45 p.m. Wednesday.

“Something extraordinary happened to have them call a mayday,” MacDonald said.

While MacDonald said wind was definitely a contributing factor, it’s still unclear what caused the fire. Investigators were not able to get into the building on Wednesday as fire crews were pouring water into the brownstone to battle hot spots into Thursday morning.

Investigators from the fire department, as well as from Boston police and the Suffolk district attorney’s office, will conduct a joint probe of the fire, MacDonald said. Additionally, he said that it’s standard procedure that the fire department will convene a board of inquiry made up of chiefs that were not involved in Wednesday’s fire. That report will probably not be ready for months.

At the firehouse where both Walsh and Kennedy were stationed, black bunting was draped across the front of it while people continued to drop off flowers and other items.

“It’s just a lousy time right now,” MacDonald said.

Follow Michael Naughton on Twitter @metrobosmike.



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