Credit: Boston Fire Department

Federal Agency Will Investigate Back Bay Fire

April 11, 2014

The U.S. federal agency tasked with investigating work-related deaths and injuries tells WGBH News that it will investigate last month's Back Bay fire that killed Boston firefighters Lt. Ed Walsh and Michael Kennedy.

A spokesperson for the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) said that the agency's focus will be identifying "factors that contributed to fire fighter deaths in an incident, as well as to provide findings and recommendations in public reports to prevent future tragedies."

At a press conference last week, local officials blamed the fire on welding work that was going on next to the 298 Beacon Street brownstone. Walsh and Kennedy were killed after they became trapped in the brownstone's basement. Boston Police Commissioner William Evans said he and others were confident that the fire was not intentional. Local authorities, including the Boston Fire Department and Suffolk County District Attorney's Office, are already investigating the blaze.

NIOSH oversees a program that conducts independent investigations of firefighter deaths related to the line of duty. Since 1999, it has conducted 18 investigations involving Massachusetts firefighters. You can view those past investigations here.

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