On March 20th 1927, a young Boston Fire Lieutenant serving with Engine 9 in East Boston responded to Box 6184 for a fire aboard a steamer ship tied to the docks along the Chelsea River. The Lieutenant from South Boston had seen this all before, since the ripe old age of 10 he had been serving in one capacity or another for Boston Fire…this was his dream. I’m assuming that the 20 year vet approached this fire with all confidence and caution one would expect from a seasoned Jake, but that day forever altered the course of his young family living on Columbia road in Dorchester. While enduring the rigors of working the fire aboard this vessel, the Lieutenant fell through an access shaft and sustained serious injuries. Three days later the firefighter succumbed to his injuries and passed away.
That firefighter was my great grandfather…
It’s been 87 years and although much has changed, the men and women who find it within themselves to perform this vital role for our city never do…they just seem to have it in their DNA. There’s a lot of firefighters who say it’s all about the training. Who am I to disagree? But then again, how do you train someone to have heart? How do you train someone to run into danger? Being a first responder is in your fabric…it’s a different breed of human being. These are the small kids who one day dreamed of being someone’s hero and never let go of that dream.
Today, Lieutenant Edward Walsh and Michael Kennedy of Engine 33 became heroes to an entire city….and this city will be forever grateful that we have dreamers like them.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Boston Fire Department tonight and the families of these brave men.
Photos by Georgi Ruley and cityofboston.gov