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March 28, 2014

Boston mourns 2 firefighters killed in blaze

BOSTON (AP) — One was a fitness enthusiast who helped the wounded after the Boston Marathon bombings and planned to run the race himself this year. The other was a father of three young children who had firefighting in his blood.

The smoke from a wind-whipped fire had dissipated yesterday, but a sadness hung over the city as tributes poured in for Michael Kennedy and Edward Walsh, the two firefighters who died after becoming trapped in a basement in a brownstone apartment building Wednesday afternoon.

The cause of the fire, which also sent more than a dozen other firefighters and several police officers to hospitals, was unknown. Steve MacDonald, a fire department spokesman, said a conclusion could be months away.

Outside Engine 33/Ladder 15, the station where Walsh and Kennedy worked, people stopped to pay their respects, some crying, others praying. Flowers were draped on the fire alarm outside the brick building and piles of bouquets accumulated.

Firefighters continued their work.

“Life goes on,” Dennis Costin said as alarms went off at the station. “It’s all we can do.”

Kennedy, 33, joined the Marine Corps in 2001 and was on active duty for six years, including a deployment to Iraq, before joining the fire department in 2007.

In April, he was among the first responders to the twin bombings at the Boston Marathon finish line, just a few blocks from the station.

“He was devastated by it. He told us about helping to hold someone together, someone with bad injuries,” said Shelley White, the general manager of Personalized Fitness, a health and wellness center where Kennedy also worked as a coach in the CrossFit Together program.

Kennedy wrote an essay to earn a spot in the marathon this year and had been training with other firefighters planning to run in the April 21 race, said Gov. Deval Patrick, who was among those who stopped by the station yesterday.

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