Sparks from welders blamed for deadly Back Bay fire

boston fire back bay beacon street
The 9-alarm fire in the Back Bay consumed Beacon Street on Wednesday.
Credit: Boston Fire Department

Sparks from welding work being done in the rear of 296 Beacon St. flew toward a neighboring building, ignited it and eventually claimed the lives of two Boston firefighters, authorities said.

The cause of the Back Bay fire at 298 Beacon St. last week was sparks from that welding work to install or repair an iron handrail. Authorities announced the cause of the 9-alarm fire just a day after the last of the two funerals were held for Lt. Edward Walsh and Firefighter Michael Kennedy.

Boston Police Commissioner William Evans said there was no fire detail or a permit pulled for the welding work being done at the rear of the building. A permit is required by law and in most cases a fire detail is required, said Interim Boston Fire Department Commissioner John Hasson.

Hasson said once a permit is pulled a fire official will go to the work site to determine the potential hazards and decide whether or not a fire detail is necessary.

Authorities said the investigation is ongoing. They did not identify the welding company.

“The nature, extent and circumstances of that work remain under intense scrutiny by investigators and prosecutors assigned to this case,” said Ed Zabin, chief of homicide for the Suffolk district attorney’s office.

Walsh and Kennedy died March 26 after they became trapped in the basement of the Back Bay brownstone. At the time, fire officials said they believe the fire started in the basement of the building and spread quickly throughout the home because of strong winds that day.

Mayor Marty Walsh said he was encouraged by the progress of investigators.

“This remains an active investigation in the capable hands of the Boston Fire Department, Boston Police Department and the Suffolk district attorney’s office,” Walsh said in a statement. “I am confident they will pursue the appropriate course of action in this case, and they have my full support as they continue this investigation and evaluate their next steps.”


Mutant worms stay sober, even on alcohol

U.S. researchers have developed "mutant worms" that do not get drunk by alcohol, a breakthrough that could lead to new treatment for people trying to quit drinking


K-9 nose helps capture $150K in cocaine at…

A furry, four-legged security agent helped authorities stop an illegal cocaine shipment from sneaking past JFK customs.


Minnesota man asked to leave Southwest flight after…

A man and his two sons were asked to leave a Southwest Airlines flight after the man sent a tweet complaining about being treated rudely by a gate agent.


Man sues hospital after surprise penis amputation

An Alabama man who went in to a hospital last month for a circumcision awoke after surgery to find his penis had been amputated, his lawyer said on Thursday.


Review: Brett Ratner's big 'Hercules' movie is small…

The latest "Hercules," starring Dwayne Johnson as the half-god beefcake of Greek myth, strips its hero and tale of most of its fantastical elements.


Scientists recreate world's smallest Monet copy

Scientists have reproduced a famous Impressionist painting using nano-printing, to create what has been described as the world's smallest work of art. Reworked at the…


Jerry Seinfeld is ambidextrous, and other Reddit AMA…

See some of the weirder highlights of Jerry Seinfeld's recent Reddit AMA.

Going Out

Grab a pedestrian and start dancing at What…

As a New Yorker, I’ve mastered the art of focusing my gaze straight ahead. Though it occasionally piques my interest, the absurdities that play out…


2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player…

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player rankings

U.S. Soccer

NYCFC announce signing of Frank Lampard

The tease of a big signing Thursday by new MLS side NYCFC ended up being one rumored for weeks. England midfielder Frank Lampard agreed to…


NBA great LeBron James sends 800 cupcake apologies…

By Kim PalmerCLEVELAND (Reuters) - NBA star LeBron James, whose recent return to the Cleveland Cavaliers in his home state of Ohio sparked a frenzy…


Jerry Reese confident with Giants, skipping countdown clocks…

Last year, Giants GM Jerry Reese installed a countdown clock in the locker room to inspire Big Blue to play in their own stadium for Super Bowl XLVIII.


Forget Wi-Fi: Li-Fi could be the future

Li-Fi technology – developed by Mexican company Sisoft – is wireless internet connectivity using specialized LED light.


Weather app Climendo might be the most accurate…

The wait for a truly accurate weather forecast could finally be over thanks to a nifty new app called Climendo.


Napkin Table puts focus off the phone and…

Michael Jan, a design student at Tunghai University in Taiwan, has invented a serviette-picnic blanket hybrid called the Napkin Table.


Essie's new Color Boutique

Essie launches high-tech kiosks at major airports and malls across the country.