There’s an old saying in the Boston Fire Department: “The first act of bravery is signing the papers to join.” For years, new recruits were taken to Commonwealth Avenue, just blocks from yesterday’s deadly fire and brought to the memorial to the nine firefighters who died in the 1972 Vendome fire.
A little more than 24 hours ago, Boston firefighters Michael Kennedy and Lt. Edward Walsh joined the ranks of the Vendome nine and many more who’ve died in the line of duty. They worked out of the Boylston firehouse near the Marathon finish line. Ed Walsh, 43, was the father of three children younger than 10 years old. He’s remembered as a tall, handsome, athletic man, who played basketball with his son Sunday at Holy Name Parish near their West Roxbury home.
Michael Kennedy, 33, was single, a Marine, and an Iraq combat vet. He is recalled in Roslindale and Hyde Park, where he lived, as loyal, tough and disciplined. He was a first-responder to Boston Marathon bombing victims down the street from his firehouse and a motorcycle-riding Crossfit trainer who had recently ridden to Rhode Island to donate blood for a 6-year-old Leukemia patient.
- John Hasson is interim fire commissioner.
- Jerry Fontana is acting chief of operations and was on the scene yesterday coordinating the firefighting operation.