Backdraft Danger And Keeping Firefighters Safe

March 27, 2014

The cause of the fire Wednesday at 298 Beacon Street is still under investigation, but authorities believe it was accidental. It’s also too soon to know what happened inside the building that led to the deaths of Michael Kennedy and Edward Walsh. We do know situation was compounded by an explosion.

The raging fire suddenly shot out of the windows as crews tried to fight the flames. This kind of explosion can occur when oxygen is rapidly reintroduced to a smoldering fire that’s been deprived of oxygen. When that happens, it’s called a backdraft and is often caused when a window breaks.  


  • Ken Willette is with the Quincy-based National Fire Protection Association and is a former fire academy instructor who has trained firefighters for this and other dangerous scenarios.

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