(NECN: Kathryn Sotnik, Boston) - A 9-alarm blaze ripped through a brownstone building in Boston’s Back Bay "like a blowtorch" Wednesday, killing two firefighters and injuring more than a dozen others battling what officials described as one of the fastest-moving fires seen in decades.
"We lost two heroes today," Mayor Marty Walsh said. "It's a sad day for the city of Boston.”
Fire officials confirmed at a press conference Wednesday night that Lt. Ed Walsh and Firefighter Michael Kennedy died in the fire at 298 Beacon St. Thirteen other firefighters were injured. By Thursday afternoon, three firefighters remained in the hospital recovering from non-life threatening injuries.
"Two great firefighters," said Rich Paris, president of the Boston firefighters' union.
Walsh, 43, of West Roxbury, was married and had three children, all under age 10; Kennedy, 33, of Hyde Park was single and spent more than six years as a firefighter.
Thursday, Boston Fire spokesperson Steve MacDonald said nothing has been ruled out in regards to the cause of the massive blaze.
Boston EMS said at least 18 people in all were taken to area hospitals. Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center confirmed that seven patients were transported there. Six were in good condition and one in fair condition.
The fire extended up from the basement of the four-story brick brownstone building. Walsh died in the basement, while Kennedy was rushed to Massachusetts General Hospital, where he died.
Winds were gusting at 45 miles per hour with wind tunnels in the area.
Boston Deputy Fire Chief Joseph Finn said in 30 years, he's never seen a fire move as quickly as this one. He said there is no reason to believe there was any criminal intent involved and the fire is not believed to be suspicious at this time.
Several roads in the area, including Storrow Drive, were closed for a time.