Governor Deval Patrick released a statement Wednesday expressing his gratitude to the firefighters.
"My heart and my condolences go out to the families of the firefighters lost in the line of duty today, as well as to the entire Boston Fire Department," Patrick said. "This terrible tragedy reinforces how we must be grateful every single day for the brave men and women who put themselves in danger day in and day out to keep us safe."
New England Patriots star Tom Brady, who also lives on Beacon Street in the Back Bay, was spotted watching the flames from his deck. He posted on his public Facebook page thanking the fire department for their bravery.
"On behalf of my entire family, I want to extend my deepest sympathies and condolences to the Boston Fire Department and the families of our brave and selfless firefighters who gave their lives for our protection and safety today, and to the entire firefighting community who protect us each and every day. All of you will be in our thoughts and prayers," Brady wrote.
Cardinal Sean O'Malley released his condolences through the Archdiocese of Boston.
“We join the Boston Fire Department, the Boston Police Department and Boston EMS in mourning the tragic loss of two Boston firefighters today, Lieutenant Edward J. Walsh and Firefighter Michael R. Kennedy. These brave men gave their lives in the line of duty, putting the public safety ahead of their own interests," O'Malley wrote. "Tonight we pray for the repose of the souls of Lieutenant Walsh and Firefighter Kennedy, for the consolation of their families and loved ones, and for God’s gift of peace for all impacted by this devastating loss.”
Several who knew the fallen firefighters, Lt. Edward J. Walsh, 43, of Engine 33 and Firefighter Michael R. Kennedy, 33, of Ladder 15, also expressed their devastation.
Lt. Walsh was a 9 1/2 year veteran of the Boston Fire Department. The son of a Watertown firefighter, Walsh was married with 3 three children, two boys and a girl, and lived in West Roxbury.
Lt. Edward Walsh. (Photo via Boston Fire Department)
Firefighter Kennedy, who was single, lived in Hyde Park, and was a veteran of the United States Marine Corps. He served as a member of the Boston Firefighter's Burn Foundation board, and was also very popular within the Boston-area CrossFit community. Friends shared how much he'd be missed via social media.
"A hero lost his life today, Mike was a Boston Firefighter his job was to run into fires while people run out. He was a huge part of the CrossFit community and will be sorely missed," a statement on the Crossfit Homebase website read. "HomeBase extends it's deepest condolences to his family as well as his CrossFit families Florian and Craic. Forever in our hearts, thank you for choosing self-sacrifice over self-preservation."
An outpouring of help was offered to the displaced residents of 298 Beacon St. At the Boston Public Library, the Boston Room was converted for services and support. At Fisher College, first responders and displaced residents were offered a free night's stay at Hosteling International, as well as free hot food and drinks at the school's cafeteria.
City Councilor Josh Zakim, who represents District 8 in the Back Bay, asked that any affected residents contact him.
“District 8 mourns a tragic loss to our neighborhood and our city," Zakim said in a statement. "The people of Boston have a simple charge today – remember the sacrifice of Lieutenant Walsh and Firefighter Kennedy. Their heroism and professionalism, both which stood tall in the face of unimaginable circumstances, is staggering. I join all of Boston, reverently, respectfully, and extend our thoughts and prayers to the families, friends and comrades left behind. What our firefighters do for us – how can we ever repay that debt?"