Investigators of the Brownstone Inferno in Back Bay, in which two firefighters were killed, consider the stove as a possible starting point for a raging flame.
An official briefed on the probe said the furnace was “a thing they look at,” while a Boston Fire Department spokesman said investigators would also examine the electrical system and determine if there were any smokers in the building .
Union officials said yesterday the explosive fire may have burned straight through the hose. Lt. Edward J. Walsh (43) and Michael R. Kennedy (33) carried into the building.
“This is one of the possible situations we’re looking at,” said Edward A. Kelly, president of the Professional Firefighters of Massachusetts. “It happens. You just think you’ve lost water, so you ask for more water.”
The cool radio transmissions from Walsh and Kennedy’s Mayday call make it clear that the firefighters trapped in the basement were desperately searching for water minutes after the rush into the building’s basement on Wednesday afternoon.
“Charge the line! Charge the line from 33 now! “You hear one of the doomed firefighters say early on, which quickly broke out into a nine-alarm fire.
“Thirty-three is trapped in the basement,” said the firefighter, referring to his engine number after the fourth alarm went off. “Towards the front of the building … you need to charge my line.”
Fire hoses are not fireproof, said Ken Willette, of the National Fire Protection Association, which sets manufacturer standards for fire extinguishers.
“The building material for this fire resistance would require a hose that is not flexible. When you think of materials that are fireproof, it’s things like concrete and metal, and those aren’t good materials for a fire hose, ”Willette said.
He said refractory hoses could actually put firefighters at risk by approaching a fire than their protective equipment allows.
The building belongs to the estate of Michael J. Callahan. Court records show that property managers paid $ 984 to upgrade the fire alarm system late last year.
Court records show the property spent $ 171,000 on the building last year while it grossed $ 370,909 in gross income. The estate administrator said he was “cooperating fully” with investigators, while an estate attorney said she was unaware of complaints from tenants.
“If there was a problem with anything, we took care of it,” lawyer Frances X. Hogan told the Herald. “We believe the property has been well maintained and complies with building regulations. It was the code. “
Kennedy’s comrades dragged him into the fire for about 30 minutes. He was rushed to Massachusetts General Hospital and pronounced dead after unsuccessful but valiant efforts to resuscitate him. Deputy Chief Joseph Finn, who led the fight against the inferno, made the heartbreaking decision to leave Walsh’s body indoors while firefighters got the raging flames under control.
“The condition was so bad that you couldn’t go inside. You can’t do anything,” said fire department spokesman Steve MacDonald. “You (the other firefighters) want to go in. They think, ‘Just give me a minute. I can go in. ‘Then the boss finally says: “Nobody inside, only outside.” You have to obey. He sees the whole picture. “