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April 3, 2014

Haverhill firefighters attend funeral for 'lost brother'

HAVERHILL — Twenty off-duty Haverhill firefighters were among the thousands gathered yesterday to pay final respects to a colleague killed in Boston last week.

Lt. Edward Walsh, 43, who was married and had three young children, was killed alongside firefighter Michael Kennedy, 33, during a wind-whipped fire in the Back Bay brownstone. Kennedy’s funeral is scheduled for today in West Roxbury.

Haverhill Deputy Fire Chief Brian Moriarty said he and other members of Haverhill’s Fire Department joined with thousands of other firefighters and first responders from as far away as Washington state, Ohio, New York and Canada for Walsh’s funeral at St. Patrick’s Church, Watertown.

“We all lined the street and as the procession passed by, with Engine 33 carrying the casket of our late brother, you could not hear a pin drop,” Moriarty said. “Everyone was at attention, saluting.”

Moriarty said the most heart-wrenching moment was when a small child in the motorcade passed by.

“He had a little firefighters helmet on, and was waving at all the firefighters,” Moriarty said.

“It’s amazing how the brotherhood all comes together to say goodbye to a lost brother,” Moriarty said. “It doesn’t matter where you work, we’re all the same. Fires are just as hot in Boston as in the smallest town, so we all understand what they went through.”

Haverhill’s firefighters wore dress uniforms to the funeral. Firefighters dressed in blue shirts while officers wore white shirts.

Walsh’s coffin, on top of a firetruck draped in flowers, was led to the funeral by a caravan of police vehicles. His jacket hung from one of the ladders. The men from his firehouse, their heads lowered, ceremoniously lifted his casket as the sound of drums and bagpipes filled the air.

Inside the church, a heartfelt tribute was read by Walsh’s older sister, Kathy Malone, who praised him for his leadership, kindness and love for his friends and family.

“He was destined to do great things,” she said, fighting back tears. “And that’s what he did. He lived more in 43 years than many of us could do in 80.”

Gov. Deval Patrick, state Attorney General Martha Coakley, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Boston Mayor Martin Walsh also attended.

Walsh was to be buried in Watertown alongside his father, who also was a firefighter.

Associated Press contributed to this story.

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